Jailed for shooting wife

IAN STEWARD
Last updated 11:15 13/12/2013

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A man who shot his former wife point-blank in the head has been jailed for 10-and-a-half years.

Sione Vaioleti, 61, was found guilty of attempted murder in a trial in the High Court at Auckland in November.

In a drunken rage, the Tongan overstayer shot his former wife, Losaline Fifita, in the face on June 16, 2012.
The bullet entered her jaw above her left front teeth and travelled the entire breadth of her head before it lodged in the back of her neck.

The projectile came within millimetres of all the major arteries that service the brain but missed them all.

Her survival was repeatedly described as "miraculous" by medical experts.

She spent a month in hospital before being released back to her family.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Fifita said her jaw had been so badly damaged she could not have false teeth fitted.

She was so scared after the attack that her son had to sit through the night with her while she was in hospital.

Fifita said she knew her husband was a hard man but she stayed with him because he was her husband.

"I knew that one day he would really hurt me but I never expected him to do a thing like this."

The trial heard that after the shooting, emergency services did not realise Fifita had been shot.

The ambulance officers who attended the call to their Druces Rd, Manukau, home found Fifita with blood and swelling on her face, like she had been beaten.

She was moving around, though, and neither of the ambulance officers suspected she had been shot after their examination of her.

At Middlemore Hospital, a nurse and a doctor examined the mother-of-six but it was only after she was sent for a CT scan that they discovered that she had been shot.

The bullet was found lodged in the back of Mrs Fifita's upper neck, sitting a few centimetres below the skin.

Vaioleti went to a police station after the shooting and confessed, though he later changed his story and said he shot her with his "hand".

Justice John Priestley said it was a serious attack on an elderly woman who was in her bed at the time.

He said Vaioleti had several previous convictions for violence and had been deported from New Zealand in the past following an assault.

He managed to re-enter New Zealand on a Fijian passport in 2006.

The judge sentenced him to 10 years, six months, after which he will be deported to Tonga again.

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