Siosaia Langi Naufahu was convicted by Hon. Justice Cato, who said the attack was pre-meditated and had left his wife mentally and physically scarred.
Kaniva News reports the attack occurred around daybreak on August 24 last year when the wife was preparing breakfast at their house in Sopu.
In his report on the case, the judge said Naufahu drank, was controlling and there had been domestic violence in the past. The couple had been married for 30 years and had nine children.
The marriage had deteriorated over the years, particularly since she returned from a course in Vanuatu in 2009. The judge said the marriage was unhappy and violent. The court was told that the wife had conducted a number of extramarital relationships.
Hon. Justice Cato said Naufahu had at one time run a reasonably successful business. He said the prisoner appeared to present one image to the public, but was another person at home.
The judge described this as “a Jekyll and Hyde personality” and occurred “particularly… where alcohol has been involved.”
As a result of the attack, his wife received burns to 35-40% of her body and was on life support for five days. One hand and eye have been permanently damaged.
“A victim impact report states that she was in hospital for a month after that,” Hon Justice Cato said.
“She was obviously in great pain and the report indicates that not only she has residual physical effects from the incident but she has suffered understandingly marked psychological effects as well.
“It must have been a terrifying experience for her. Sadly, it would seem some of the children in the large family of nine seem to taken the side of the father despite the cruel nature of their father’s offending”.
The judge said the family still had four children who needed support. The wife has not returned home and plans to file for divorce.
Naufahu was sentenced to five and a half years in jail, with 18 months mitigated. He was also sentenced to 10 months for domestic violence, to be served at the same time as the main sentence.
The final part of his sentence was suspended on condition that he be of good behaviour for two years following his release, that he attend a course on drug and alcohol addiction run by the Salvation Army, that he attend a course on domestic violence run the Women’s Crisis Centre and that he have no contact with his wife unless she indicates to his probation officer that she is willing to see him.