A man who beat his wife as she held their baby, hitting her so hard in the head that he deafened her, has been sentenced to just 130 hours of community work. But he will likely be deported before he can complete the sentence, described as a "joke" by his victim. Jone Vuetaki, 26, was sentenced to 130 hours of community work in the Timaru District Court on Tuesday for the vicious assault of his wife in November last year. The Fiji-born meat worker denied the charge but was found guilty after a trial before Judge Joanna Maze. When the Herald contacted Immigration New Zealand on Friday to see if the conviction had any bearing on Vuetaki staying in the country, it revealed he was here illegally. "Immigration New Zealand can confirm that Jone Vuetaki has been unlawfully in New Zealand since March this year," a spokesman said. "Vuetaki is liable for deportation, but INZ strongly encourages him to settle his affairs and make arrangements to leave the country as soon as possible by departing voluntarily." Vuetaki's victim, his now ex-wife, said news of his deportation was "great" as it meant he would be out of her life and she would feel safe. However it meant he faced no real punishment for his vicious crime.
If he had missed my head he would have hit her. It would have killed her, and that would have killed me.The woman, who asked not to be named, fell to the ground, and realised she could not hear. Her hearing was affected for some time after the assault. At his trial the court heard that Vuetaki had been abusing his wife for "years". The couple have since separated. The woman was "devastated" to learn about his sentence this week. "All he gets is a wee slap on the hands," she told the Herald. "For him to only get 130 hours is cruel and devastating on me. For him to walk away with nothing when I went thought hell - it's not fair." She said the nine months since the assault had been a struggle for her. After she recovered from the physical injuries, she had to deal with the emotional pain. She also had to start her life over as a single mother. She said the sentence was "a joke". "Excuse the wording but it really is a slap in the face. I was devastated when I got the call," she said. "It's a joke to me as the victim to have got though so much and for him to not get what he deserves. I would rather have done 130 hours of community work than go through what I have."
This joke of a sentence simply serves to enable and grow New Zealand's notorious family violence epidemic."It is no wonder that the victims of such violence in New Zealand have little faith in the system and are reluctant to report violence when offenders are given such nonsense sentences." She said the courts needed to come down harder on perpetrators of family violence in order to make any difference. "This disgraceful family violence behaviour is not deterred when some judges in New Zealand continue to make a mockery of the system and community that they are there to serve." Family First national director Bob McCoskrie echoed Money's message. "The judiciary needs to reflect the disdain the New Zealand public have for family violence by giving a sentence that reflects the seriousness of the crime," he said. "In this case... there is also the aggravating issue that a baby was present during this particular altercation who could have easily been seriously harmed by the violence." He said Vuetaki's sentence was inadequate, and he doubted whether it would have any real impact on the offender. "Doing some community service simply doesn't communicate the seriousness of the situation.
We're never going to change the culture if we don't give a strong message to violent offenders."This is a weak sentence with a weak message," he said. READ MORE • Family violence: We can, and must, do better than this NZ • Looking forward to a future without fear • Family violence incidents increasing • 'Why don't women leave? We hope they will change' • 'I will leave him - I'm saying right now I am better than this'