Sons have forgiven dad who beat them

MAARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 26/07/2014

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A man who beat his four young sons until they pleaded for him to stop has avoided a jail sentence partly due to their forgiveness.

Tuipokoroa Apai, 31, was sentenced in Napier District Court on July 11 after pleading guilty to 13 charges of assaulting his four sons, who were aged 3, 7, 9 and 11 at the time.

The charges included assault on a child, assault with a weapon, and threatening to kill.

In October last year one of the boys arrived home from school and was told to vacuum the house. When the vacuum head broke, Apai became angry and punched him on the bridge of his nose with a closed fist.

Judge Jonathan Down told Apai that blood dripped from the boy's nose on to the carpet "and that infuriated you further and you slapped him twice to the back of the head".

Apai told the boy that if anyone asked how he was injured he should say he had "run into a pole in the park".

In November Apai was drunk at home and became angry when he could not find his car keys, which his wife had mistakenly taken to work.

He blamed his sons and picked up a wooden chair and threatened to hit them. When one of the boys pleaded for him not to hit them he struck his legs a number of times with the chair.

Then he told another son to fetch a knife. He held it in a threatening manner and told the boy he hit with the chair to approach him so he could kill him.

Apai then grabbed another of his sons around the throat and lifted him off the ground.

"Due to the pressure around his throat, his face turned red and he was pleading with you. You grabbed a plastic fork and pushed it against [the boy's] stomach with enough force to break it," the judge said.

Apai then grabbed a rolling pin and hit one of his sons on his head. The son who was hit with the chair was made to put his hands on a table and Apai beat them with the rolling pin.

"All three boys were crying and pleading for you to stop," the judge said.

The boys' injuries were later reported to police.

Other offending involved Apai hitting his boys with sticks, a piece of wood, and a pole. The boys said the assaults usually occurred when Apai was drunk.

Apai had no previous convictions and the judge said a pre-sentence report assessed his risk of reoffending as low and recommended home detention.

He sentenced him to 10 months' home detention.

"You can consider yourself lucky that you are receiving home detention today. It is because of your previous good character, your health at this moment and the forgiveness that your family have expressed."

Apai must attend a drug and alcohol programme, a parenting programme, a domestic violence programme and he is not allowed to associate with his sons without prior approval from a probation officer.

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- The Dominion Post

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