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Fiji Time: 10:37 PM on Friday 18 April

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Judge allows appeal against sentence

Mere Naleba
Friday, December 06, 2013

A MAN convicted of assaulting his wife after she tried to stop him from drinking alcohol has had his two-year prison sentence reduced to nine months following his appeal.

Onisimo Baleisuva appeared before High Court judge Justice Janaka Bandara.

He had appealed on the grounds that the learned magistrate had erred after not considering his early guilty plea and that he had reconciled with his wife.

Legal Aid Commission lawyer Romanu Vananalagi told the court the magistrate also erred in heavily relying on the fact that Baleisuva's wife had spent two months in the hospital when she had only spent three days.

A medical certificate was also produced in court to confirm she had only been admitted for three days.

Baleisuva was charged with one count of assault causing actual bodily harm.

"It is always a healthy practice to obtain the medical report before coming to any conclusions about the seriousness and the nature of the injuries.

"It will further clarify the duration that the injured was hospitalised and the treatment she received," Justice Bandara said.

"In this instance, the complainant herself had written to the Divisional Prosecuting Officer saying that she spent only three days in the hospital.

"These types of ambiguities could have been simply avoided by obtaining the medical report of the victim."

Justice Bandara said based on the findings of the court, Baleisuva convinced the court that the magistrate who handled the case in the lower court did commit a mistake when passing sentence and that was considering the wrong facts.