‘Joke’ community work sentence for man who beat, deafened wife

NZ Herald 7 August 2016
Family First Comment: “We’re never going to change the culture if we don’t give a strong message to violent offenders.”

A man who beat his wife as she held their baby, hitting her so hard in the head that he deafened her, has been sentenced to just 130 hours of community work.

But he will likely be deported before he can complete the sentence, described as a “joke” by his victim.

Jone Vuetaki, 26, was sentenced to 130 hours of community work in the Timaru District Court on Tuesday for the vicious assault of his wife in November last year.

The Fiji-born meat worker denied the charge but was found guilty after a trial before Judge Joanna Maze.

Victim advocate Ruth Money was appalled at Vuetaki’s sentence.

“This joke of a sentence simply serves to enable and grow New Zealand’s notorious family violence epidemic.”

“It is no wonder that the victims of such violence in New Zealand have little faith in the system and are reluctant to report violence when offenders are given such nonsense sentences.”

She said the courts needed to come down harder on perpetrators of family violence in order to make any difference.

“This disgraceful family violence behaviour is not deterred when some judges in New Zealand continue to make a mockery of the system and community that they are there to serve.”

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie echoed Money’s message.

“The judiciary needs to reflect the disdain the New Zealand public have for family violence by giving a sentence that reflects the seriousness of the crime,” he said.

“In this case… there is also the aggravating issue that a baby was present during this particular altercation who could have easily been seriously harmed by the violence.”
He said Vuetaki’s sentence was inadequate, and he doubted whether it would have any real impact on the offender.

“Doing some community service simply doesn’t communicate the seriousness of the situation.

“We’re never going to change the culture if we don’t give a strong message to violent offenders.”

“This is a weak sentence with a weak message,” he said.
READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11688724
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