Sunday, June 24, 2012

Australia: A Samoan who stabbed his friend to death during a drunken argument in which he was punched and taunted about being an illegal immigrant has been jailed for eight years

Iafeta Talatonu, 51, has pleaded guilty to defensive homicide after repeatedly stabbing his friend Amuia Taoai in the chest and head in January 2011. The men had been drinking with others at Talatonu's home in Shepparton, in Victoria's northeast, when Taoai made a comment about Talatonu's illegal status in Australia. During the argument that ensued, Taoai began smashing beer bottles on the back of Talatonu's car and threatened him with a broken bottle before punching him in the face three times. Minutes later, Talatonu grabbed a knife and stabbed his 33-year-old friend to death. In sentencing Talatonu in the Victorian Supreme Court, Justice Terry Forrest said that his guilty plea to defensive homicide was accepted on the basis that he had a "genuine, if unreasonable, belief" that he was acting in self-defence. The judge said that Talatonu came to Australia on a visitors visa in 2006 but decided to stay in the country illegally, working as a fruit picker. He developed anxiety over his illegal status and was sensitive to others referring to it, said Justice Forrest. "Those who are inclined to use knives to settle alcohol-fuelled disputes must understand that the community simply will not tolerate this," said Justice Forrest. "A young man has needlessly died at your hand." Talatonu was sentenced to eight years in jail with a non-parole period of five years and three months. He will be deported upon release.

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