Man snaps after life of taunts

02:48, May 16 2014

After a lifetime of teasing and a night on the booze an albino man launched a frenzied knife attack on a fellow drinker.

Samoan Aucklander Viane Kisona did not look like a Pacific Islander and his "unusual appearance" - with no pigment in his eyes, hair or skin - led to him being taunted over a long period, Judge Chris Field said.

"It makes you particularly vulnerable to taunts and criticism and potential ill-treatment in the prison system itself," Judge Field said.

In the Auckland District Court, the 52-year-old man was jailed for four and a half years after pleading guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The seriousness of the attack meant the judge could not consider home detention.

In November, Kisona, who is legally blind and partially deaf, was drinking with a large group of friends at his Mt Roskill home.

By 1.15am most of party had left and Kisona prepared a meal for a couple of women, who were still there.


Another guest Tusivili Sila joked the food was for him, prompting the offender to leave the room.

He returned wielding a long kitchen knife and called out Sila's name.

As the victim turned around in his seat, Kisona began stabbing and slashing.

The victim tried to protect himself with his left arm and the attack finally ended when the knife was forced out of Kisona's hand as the pair wrestled on the floor.

Sila suffered a 4-centimetre cut on his neck which narrowly missed the carotid artery and a similar-sized gash on his forearm severed his ulnar nerve.

Plastic surgery was done to reattach the nerve, but Judge Field said the victim now had numbness and weakness in his left hand as a result.

There were other less serious wounds to Sila's hip and face and his life had been "dramatically affected" by the incident, according to his statement.

"You've been the subject of teasing and taunts over your different physical appearance I'm sure for many years, and comments on this occasion I have no doubt were highly provocative," Judge Field said.

Though it was not provocation in the legal sense, the judge discounted Kisona's sentence by two years for his lack of previous convictions and his personal circumstances.

His lawyer, Alice Kemp, said her client's eyesight had deteriorated with exposure to ultraviolet light and ordinarily he wore tinted glasses.

But while he had been in custody, Corrections had refused to let him don the eyewear because sunglasses were not permitted in jail.

Judge Field hoped that stance would change with medical evidence of Kisona's condition.