A Dunedin security officer yesterday avoided prison for an
unprovoked attack which broke a man's nose and eye socket.
Siosaia M.A. Vaki Vahaakolo (23) was yesterday sentenced in
the Dunedin District Court to six months' home detention for
intentionally injuring Mesfer Alyami at Pop Bar in the
Octagon on November 15.
Vahaakolo was in the bar with an associate about 3am on
November 15, when he grabbed the victim by the shirt. The
victim, Mr Alyami, pulled away but was punched in the face by
the defendant and fell to the ground unconscious.
Vahaakolo punched him again as he lay on the ground, then
picked him up by the back of the neck and punched him in the
face. The blows left Mr Alyami, who was in Dunedin on a
scholarship, with a broken nose and a broken eye socket,
which required surgery.
In sentencing, Judge Kevin Phillips noted the seriousness of
the attack and was appalled to hear Vahaakolo was still
working as a security guard.
The attack had a marked impact on the victim, who no longer
felt safe in town, was now afraid of Pacific Islanders and
disillusioned about studying in Dunedin. He missed an exam
because of the attack and now risked losing his scholarship.
The fact Vahaakolo threw a second and third punch after Mr
Alyami hit the ground showed premeditation.
In arguing against Vahaakolo going to prison, public defender
Andrew Dawson noted Vahaakolo had no prior convictions and,
since the incident, had been having counselling for anger
management and alcohol issues.
Vahaakolo had also written a letter of apology to the victim
and offered to pay $500.
Judge Phillips said the amount of compensation offered was an
Vahaakolo was sentenced to six months' home detention, 200
hours' community service and ordered to pay $2000 reparation
to the victim.