Man in sex and text abuse case to be deported
A Samoan man jailed after having a sexual relationship with a Rotorua teenager - who later died after overdosing on heart pills - has failed in his appeal against deportation.
Pelesasa Tiumalu, 30, was jailed for four years, three months in 2010 for unlawful sexual connection with a person under 16 after admitting to the relationship with Hayley-Ann Fenton, 15.
The teenager died at Rotorua Hospital in July 2009 after she received a series of threatening text messages sent from Tiumalu's wife, Elina, who used his cell phone.
Her death prompted a call from Coroner Wallace Bain for a new law to punish cyber bullies and make them culpable for their actions.
Tiumalu met Hayley-Ann in January 2009 while they were both working at McDonalds.
Recently split from his wife after he assaulted her, Tiumalu began a relationship with Hayley-Ann and the pair slept together three times.
Hayley-Ann was besotted during the relationship and even introduced Tiumalu to her parents, who were told he was 20.
But after five months the possibility of a reconciliation with his wife led Tiumalu to break off the relationship and his wife began sending abusive texts using her husband's phone.
After Hayley-Ann sent a text telling Tiumalu she had taken the pills and then a following one regretting the action and asking him to take her to hospital, Elina Tiumalu replied: "Don't text me again...I don't care if you kill yourself I not even like you".
Elina Tiumalu received a nine-month suspended sentence for intimidation.
Tiumalu is still in prison and was denied parole earlier this month, but is liable for deportation back to Samoa under the Immigration Act.
But he appealed the decision, arguing that his deportation would have a negative effect on his wife and two children.
In a decision released today, Immigration and Protection Tribunal member Melissa Poole said Tiumalu claimed he would be unable to find work to support his family if he was sent back to Samoa.
His wife had continued to support him while in prison but, not being Samoan herself, was concerned about the possibility of moving herself and her children to a different culture.
Poole said that she agreed there were exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature regarding Tiumalu's claim, as his deportation would separate him permanently from his wife and children and ultimately lead to the end of his marriage.
But the consequences of his offending had been extreme for his victims, she said.
His wife did not lack support in New Zealand and the Tribunal considered the seriousness of the offending outweighed the humanitarian circumstances and dismissed the appeal.