Gus Peters jailed for attempted murder

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Chief Justice, his Honour, Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu handed down an eight-year sentence for attempted murder defendant.

Chief Justice, his Honour, Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu handed down an eight-year sentence for attempted murder defendant.

Gus Peters, convicted of attempted murder in a stabbing incident, was sentenced to eight years and three months in jail. 

The sentence was handed down by Chief Justice, his Honour, Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu. 

According to Chief Justice Patu, the accused’s previous convictions for similar offences, which involved the use of violence and his non-compliance with his previous sentences and terms of supervision, are aggravating features relating to the accused as offender.

Prosecution was represented by Criminal Attorney, Anne Matalasi, and the defendant was represented by Leiataualesa Komisi Koria. 

Peters appeared for sentencing on one charge of attempted murder and one charge of being armed with a dangerous weapon without a lawful purpose. 

Peters initially pleaded not guilty to the charge of attempted murder and guilty to the charge of being armed with a dangerous weapon. 

However on the date of the hearing, he entered a guilty plea to the charge of attempted murder. 

Chief Justice Patu pointed out the prosecution summary of facts that on 18 June, 2017, the victim was in a drinking session at Tulaele with a friend of the accused and other people. 

“Around 1:00am, the accused arrived in a car to pick up his friend. 

“He became involved in a verbal exchange with one of the people who were drinking with his friend.” 

Peter left and returned with a kitchen knife and two younger brothers.

The defendant got out of the car and walked over to the victim and stabbed the victim twice on the back. 

“The accused told the probation service that he was provoked by the victim who swore at him and then punched him but missed. 

“Because he was angry, he intended to kill the victim. 

“The victim then ran away and was chased by the accused with the knife. 

“The victim suffered two deep lacerations on his back when the accused stabbed him.” 

According to the victim impact report, each laceration on the accused’s back required three stitches. 

“The victim’s right lung was also affected but that injury has healed and it took four weeks for the accused to recover from his injuries.” 

Peters≠≠ has previous convictions for offences which involved the use of violence. 

“On 18 April, 2011, the accused was convicted of obstruction to the performance of Police duty, insulting words, and being armed with a dangerous weapon without a lawful excuse and was ordered to come up for sentence within 12 months and to perform 100 hours community service. 

“He did not complete his hours of community service. 

“On 24 February, 2014, he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on the charge of causing actual bodily harm. 

“In 2015, when he was released from prison on weekend parole, he reoffended and was charged with assault, intentional damage, being armed with a dangerous weapon without a lawful purpose, and throwing an object. 

“For those offences, he was sentenced to two years supervision with the special condition that he was to perform 50 hours community service and to pay compensation to the complainant. 

“He did not comply with the terms of his sentence or the conditions of his supervision,” said the Chief Justice. 

The defendant’s wife told the probation service that the accused is a supportive husband who provided financial support for her and her children. She pleaded with the Court for leniency in sentencing of her husband.  

Chief Justice Patu noted the aggravating features relating to this offending was the use of a knife to stab the victim, the number of stabs inflicted by the accused on the victim and then chasing after the victim with the knife when the victim ran away, the injuries suffered by the victim, the impact of the offending on the victim, the degree of premeditation involved as the accused appears to have acted out of revenge when he went to his house and got a knife and then came back to the scene of this incident with his two younger brothers, vulnerability of the victim who was unarmed, and the age difference of 10 years between the accused who is 36 years old and the victim who is 26 years old. 

“The only mitigating feature relating to the accused as offender is his belated guilty to the charge of attempted murder which was only entered on the morning of the hearing. 

“I will not accept the pleas for mercy by the wife of the accused and the pastor of his church as a mitigating feature in the circumstances of this case.” 

On the charge of attempted murder, Peters is sentenced to eight years and three months in jail and for the charge of being armed with a dangerous weapon without a lawful purpose, he’s sentenced to 6 months imprisonment.

The sentences are to be served concurrently. 

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