A murderer has been given a lighter prison sentence after his mother apologised to his victim's family.
Salofa Aiono, 37, was sentenced in the High Court at Auckland today to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years for murdering Kapelielu Motunuu - his best friend - in 2009.
Aiono's lawyer Maria Pecotic said Aiono had been forgiven by Motunuu's family after a traditional Samoan apology where someone who has done wrong presents themselves, covered in fine mats, to their victim's family.
The family may then do whatever they wish, including beating up their adversary.
In Aiono's case, he was unable to complete the ceremony, known as an ifoga, because he was in prison, so his mother stepped in to take his place.
Aiono's family has also paid for the costs Motunuu's family faced as a result of the murder.
The killer's remorse and his mother's actions were factors in Justice Mary Peters agreeing to sentence Aiono to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years - the lightest sentence he could have received in the circumstances and in line with Pecotic's request.
"It's clear you regret what you've done and miss Mose [the victim] a great deal."
Crown lawyer Christine Gordon asked for a minimum non-parole period of 10 to 11 years.
Aiono murdered Motunuu by punching him in the head until he fell to the ground, kicking him in the head and chest, and stamping on him so hard that blood ended up on the wall of the house and a nearby car.
Motunuu died in hospital early the next day.
The murder took place after Aiono and Motunuu were caught up in a love triangle with Aiono's wife, Tausilia Aiono.
The three had earlier lived together and in 2009, when Aiono left the country for Samoa, Motunuu and Tausilia had consensual sex.
When Aiono returned Tausilia admitted having sex with his best friend, but initially told him it was rape.
She later admitted it had been consensual
During the trial Pecotic used the partial defence of provocation, which was still available to him as the murder was committed before the defence was repealed.
She tried to prove Aiono thought Motunuu had raped Tausilia and he had lost all self control and murdered his friend.
Although the jury did not accept that scenario, Justice Peters said the provocation of Motunuu sleeping with Aiono's wife when the pair had been good friends led her to grant a lesser minimum non-parole period.
She said she was "troubled" by Aiono stomping on and kicking his friend while he was unconscious on the ground, but he had not used a weapon in the assault and it took place over just five minutes.
Justice Peters said the murder was not a case of Aiono intending to kill his friend, but an assault that was so brutal he must have known there was a "real and substantial risk" it could have done so.
The judge told the court Motunuu had been a valued member of his family and a source of emotional and financial support.
But his family forgave Aiono and did not want his family to feel responsible for the crime.
"The attitude of Mose's family is an extremely kind and generous one given the loss they have suffered."
Aiono faced three trials on the murder charge before a guilty verdict was finally reached - the first was aborted two weeks in, the second resulted in a hung jury.
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