Multiculturalism protects a vicious assault
Samoan man convicted of smashing a man's jaw for allegedly disrespecting his sister -- but no jail
A SAMOAN national has narrowly avoided being immediately sent to jail for smashing the jaw of a fast food worker who was "culturally disrespectful" toward his younger sister.
The Brisbane District Court was told Sanervie Sautia landed a single punch to the face KFC employee Robert Hirsch, 20, and breaking his jaw in two places at the fastfood chain's Inala store, 15km west of Brisbane, on April 16 last year.
Sautia, 23, was today sentenced two years' jail, but released on immediate parole, after pleading guilty to one count of grievous bodily harm.
Lawyers for Sautia argued it was considered unacceptable in Samoan culture for a person to disrespect or insult a woman. Barrister Tim Ryan said his client "never intended" to harm Mr Hirsch, but confronted casual KFC employee over having called his sister a "f***head.’’ "In the Samoan culture it is unacceptable to disrespect females," Mr Ryan said.
The court was told Mr Hirsch allegedly made the "insulting" remark while working with Sautia's sister - also then employed by KFC.
Prosecutor Rob Glenday said Mr Hirsch had been sitting on the KFC store's loading dock, on a break, when he was approached by Sautia about 2.30pm. Mr Glenday said Sautia confronted Mr Hirch saying: "What's you name bro? So you was the one going off at my sister."
Mr Hirsch replied: "No way." The court was told Sautia told Mr Hirsch to never "f***ing talk to my sister like that" and punched him once in the face.
Mr Glenday said Mr Hirsch was later taken to hospital and required surgery to insert three metal plates, to secure his jaw, and 35 internal and two-external stitches. Mr Hirch was forced to "eat through a straw" for numerous weeks after the attack, the court was told. "(This was a) mindless act of aggression against (Mr Hirsch) while he was sitting down at work," he said.
Judge Richard Jones, in sentencing Sautia, said the attack may have been triggered by a cultural "slight", but that it was an unacceptable act of violence.
"It is a most serious offence and is all too prevalent in society today," Judge Jones said. "(Mr Hirsch) worked with your sister at the Kentucky Fried Chicken premises ... and insulted your sister ... using coarse language. "It appears among Samoan culture ... to insult a woman is a significant slight indeed. "It may provide an explanation, but no excuse."
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).