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Assault gets home detention sentence

A 501 deportee has been sentenced after continuing to beat someone after knocking them unconscious in a dispute over an allegedly stolen tablet containing photos of his children.

Michael Fahina, 34, was convicted of injuring with intent to injure and sentenced to eight months of home detention in Masterton District Court last Wednesday.

On October 26, 2022, Fahina’s tablet went missing; he understood the victim’s son had taken it.

The victim visited Fahina’s property with his son to discuss the matter.

An argument broke out over the fact that the tablet contained photos of Fahina’s family.

Fahina lost his temper and punched the victim in the face, causing him to fall over, knock his head on the kerb, and lose consciousness.

Fahina punched him four more times in the face and kicked him before walking off.

The victim suffered an eye socket fracture that needed plastic surgery to be reset and afterwards experienced headaches, vomiting, and dizziness.

Judge Noel Sainsbury said offenders who attack the head and continue when the victim is on the ground and unconscious would usually face two years imprisonment.

“The concern with this type of offending is that it’s so easy to end so much worse – someone dying or permanent brain damage. You could be facing far worse charges,” he said.

Defence lawyer Ian Hard said his client is mature, working full time, and trying to get his life back on track.

Fahina said he felt betrayed after his tablet was stolen.

“This is my first offence since I moved here. My kids are in Sydney, and my goal since I got here in New Zealand was to get back to Aussie and be a father to them.”

Sainsbury said Fahina had suffered as a 501 deportee and was entitled to feel upset but not entitled to react violently.

“There’s a problem with 501s who get dumped here from Australia,” he said.

“They wash up here with no support; it’s a recipe for disaster. When someone manages to get into work, that’s to his credit.”

After applying a sentencing discount for a guilty plea, Sainsbury said he wanted to avoid sending Fahina to prison so he could stay in employment.

Fahina was sentenced to eight months of home detention in Masterton with conditions that forbid him from contacting the victim without permission from his probation officer and allow him to go to work and attend training and games for Red Star Rugby Club.

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