MP Assang during the opening ceremony of the First Ordinary Session of Parliament in 2021. Photo: Vanuatu Daily Post.

MP Asang ordered 50 hours of community work

Member of Parliament for Malekula Sanick Asang was ordered 50 hours of community work after he pleaded guilty to two counts of Domestic Violence and failing to observe the Leadership Code Act.

He was sentenced to nine months over the charges of domestic violence and 12 months for failing to consider the law – the sentence was suspended for two years.

Asang escaped jail term two weeks after his colleague and Minister of Climate Change Hon. Leignkone Tao Bruno was handed community work for failing to comply with the Leadership Code. Both the sentences threw massive debates in different social media platforms in the country claiming the court was so lenient to the two Members of the Parliaments compare to their offences committed.

Slowly it is becoming clear that Section 13 of the Leadership Code is a compulsory rule of everyone who is regarded as Leader stipulated by Article 67 of the Constitution and Section 5 of the same Code – And people are still calling to strengthen the Leadership Code for future cases.

Justice Viran Molisa Trief handed nine months to Asang in relation to two counts of domestic violence and 12 months for failing to consider the law of the Leadership Code.

Justice Trief said that Asang performed a custom reconciliation with the people and the chief in his community including VT100,000 cash and a pig, a kava stamp, and a VT30,000 cash fine to his mother in law without the knowledge of his wife who is the complainant in this case.

The court said the issue has arisen after the wife of the Third Deputy Speaker of the Parliament addressed two letters; one to the Speaker of the Parliament and the other to the Health Ministry raising her concerns about Asang’s behaviour and misuse of government vehicles after his election as the Third Deputy Speaker.

At around 11 pm on January 6, 2021, Asang went to his wife’s house and was very angry after he learned about the letters from his wife.

The wife got out of the house when she saw Asang before she yelled and the children came running. Asang asked who advised her to write the letters and she said that his brother who is a police officer before he swore at both of them.

Asang then took a perfume bottle and hit the complainant’s head and later grabbed a wooden broom and used it to hit her head three times, her back three times and twice on her hand leaving her crying.

On January 7, 2021, MP Asang came back to the house and told his wife that she has no right to report him to the Ministry. He then grabbed the wooden mop and repeatedly used it on his wife’s backside causing her to cry.

The judge said that by assaulting his wife and thereby committing domestic violence, Asang breached Section 13 of the Leadership Code.

MP Asang made full admission later when he was arrested by the Police.

Justice Trief said that the offence was aggravated by the serious breach of trust between the couple; the offending happened at night at her wife’s residence where she was supposed to be safe and protected.

She said that the offence was repeated and premeditated, he assaulted her in front of their children, use offensive language or swore to his wife including the pain she suffered when he assaulted her repeatedly in the most vulnerable part of the body which is the head.

The court said that there are no mitigating features in this case after the defence lawyer Colin Leo raised that his client has been provoked with the two letters in which the view of the court that if the act was unlawful, it would not mitigate the case.

Justice Trief then arrived at the final sentence which is nine months for counts of domestic and 12 months for failing to observe the Leadership Code.

She then sentences the MP to 50 hours of community work.