Introduction and Facts
On 6th February 2016 Alafoti Faosiliva, a Bath and Samoan international rugby player, was on a night out with several others in Bath.
The news reports aren’t particularly full of detail. It seems that for one reason or another Mr Faosiliva was upset and Nissi Kyeremeh, a 21 year old student, went to check on him.
Mr Faosiliva reacted somewhat badly to that and punched Mr Kyeremeh (perhaps unsurprisingly, there was alcohol involved).
It seems that this was the proverbial ‘moment of madness’, and Mr Faosiliva apologised immediately. He was taken to Court (we think for ABH) and pleaded guilty straight away.
Mr Kyeremeh made a victim personal statement (usually known as a victim impact statement) describing the impact that this had had on him :
“Since the incident I have suffered with dizziness, blurry vision and the inability to sleep. The incident has had a dramatic impact on my studies. I am unable to concentrate and unable to retain information”
On 6th May 2016 he was sentenced to 8 week imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. In addition, he was ordered to pay £1,500 in compensation (as well presumably some costs).
Assuming it was an ABH (and it would seem to meet the criteria), then we turn to page 11 of the Sentencing Guidelines.
It is certainly Lower Culpability. The exact level of injury is unclear, but it would appear to have been put in the ‘Greater Harm’ category (it’s always a bit strange when the question of whether the harm is serious relative to other ABHs).
This would put it in Category 2, but probably right at the bottom end.
The sentence passed seems to have had a starting point of 12 weeks (before the credit for a plea of guilty). It was then suspended.
Given that it seems that Mr Faosiliva has not been in trouble before, this is pretty much what we would expect.
So, in relation to the question of whether he has got special treatment because of his fame, the answer is ‘no’ (as is often the case).
So he ‘walked free’ did he?
Well, he walked out of Court rather than going straight to prison, but (and this is a slight bugbear of ours) it’s not really right to say that he walked ‘free’ as he has been made subject to a suspended sentence.
‘Walking free’ does imply something rather lesser than that, almost like he walked away without any punishment, when that is far from the case …