By Andrew King
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
The man who viciously attacked his estranged wife with a piece of wood while she slept with her youngest daughter beside her, has failed in a bid to have his jail sentence reduced.
Lealofi Setu's lawyer Jonathan Eaton, QC, argued in the High Court in Christchurch that the sentence starting point of 10 years was too high, resulting in a "manifestly excessive" imprisonment term.
Setu, 40, was jailed for five years in May for the attack on Jess Setu in their Bishopdale home in May last year.
He was convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, contravening a protection order, and aggravated burglary.
Eaton told the High Court the relevant aggravating factors in the case, when compared to similar crimes, showed district court Judge Raoul Neave erred in his approach when setting a starting point for sentencing.
In his decision released on Monday, Justice Cameron Mander said Judge Neave had acted within the guidelines for sentencing this type of crime and dismissed the appeal.
"A 10-year starting point, therefore, while stern, does not fall outside the range available to the sentencing court," Justice Mander said. "I do not consider the starting point that was applied to have led to the ultimate sentence imposed on Mr Setu being manifestly excessive."
Constable Natalie Deuchrass who saw Jess Setu at Christchurch Hospital soon after the attack said she was amazed she was still alive.
"One more hit and he would have killed her, I think," she told The Star.
Jess Setu was unaware her ex-husband was appealing his sentence but said he is entitled
"Will any sentence be long enough for what Setu has sentenced my daughters and I
to live with? The courts have made their ruling, and I support the sentencing judge and the appeal decision," she said.
She said family violence has to stop. She would be a voice of strength for other
women who are in a similar situation.
"I am standing tall for those who don't have a voice. We are always hearing about terrorism, what it's doing to the world we live in. But we are living with terrorism in our own homes and communities; it's called domestic violence," she said.
How to get help
If you're in danger NOW:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you
• Run outside and head for where there are other people
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you
• Take the children with you
• Don't stop to get anything else
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay
Where to go for help or more information:
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisisline operates 24/7 - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisisline 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz