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Man labeled as vicious attacker by court granted work release

The High Court has granted work release for Siua Sausaulele who has been labeled by the court as a “Vicious Attacker”.

The work release will be effective September 4, 2012.

Sausaulele was sentenced to jail for 20 months after he attacked a woman when she refused his sexual advances, however after serving a few months in jail, Sausaulele asked the court to modify his sentence.

Presiding over the hearing yesterday morning was Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond, who was accompanied by Associate Judge Mamea Sala.

Assistant Public Defender Michael White in his motion said that at the time the defendant was sentenced, he had been gainfully employed.

He noted that Sausaulele has no prior significant criminal history and had served six months at the Tafuna Correctional Facility before he could make bond, where he was out for an extended period without any action taken towards his case.

White, through the motion said the defendant shows that his previous employer is willing to allow him to continue employment and Sausaulele’s family is suffering financial hardship without his income.

During the modification hearing yesterday, White asked the court to allow Sausaulele work release.

White pointed out that Sausaulele had already served ten months of his sentence and asked the court to allow the remaining ten months on work release.

Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop Folau strongly objected to the defense motion, saying that Sausaulele had been involved in a violent attack. “The victim is scarred for life; she’s trying to save money so she can get plastic surgery,” she told the court.

“The defendant doesn’t deserve to get work release— this was a vicious attack and it’s not appropriate for the defendant to be seen in public given that he committed this type of behavior,” said Folau.

Defense lawyer White said this matter was an isolated case, and the defendant has no prior criminal record and “again he wished me to convey his deepest apologies to the victim” White stated.

He continued, “The defendant is undergoing punishment. If granted work release, after work he’ll be heading to jail,” adding, “He won’t be heading home to his family, and that is punishment for him”.

White also made note to the court the victim in this matter has already left the territory.

Richmond noted that this is a serious case with aggravating facts, however he said the court will grant work release for the defendant.

“The work release will be effective September 4, 2012, the day after Labor Day” said Richmond.

When Sausaulele was sentenced in March the prosecutor presented the court with a photo of the victim the night the incident happened. 

The photo had the victim crying, with a huge laceration on her forehead which required eight stitches.

The Deputy AG said on the night in question there was a party, and alcohol was involved.

 “The victim was looking for a ride to go to a relative’s house when the defendant voluntarily offered to drop the victim off. Instead of going to the home of the victim’s relative, the defendant drove to the M&O strip, where he attempted to make sexual advances on the victim. And when she refused —this was the outcome said Folau, referring to the photo.

“The defendant took it very badly and instead attacked her.”

Associate Justice Richmond agreed that this was an isolated case and it was out of character, saying what the defendant did was a vicious attack.

Sausaulele was sentenced to five years in jail however sentence was suspended and the defendant was placed on five year’s probation under the following conditions: that he serve 20 months in jail, remain a law abiding citizen, pay restitution, undergo and complete Alcohol Counseling, undergo and Complete Anger Management Counseling, not consume any alcohol, nor congregate with anyone who drinks alcohol. 

The defendant is also subject to random testing of alcohol and probation officers and police officers can carry out a random search of his vehicle, home and properties for suspicion of illegal drugs or alcohol. He was also ordered not to leave the territory unless authorized by the court.