2 February 2022

Kokomo's murderer Frederick Tuifua's 'simply insufficient' jail sentence to be appealed

| Albert McKnight
Frederick Tuifua and Pitasoni Ulavalu

Frederick Tuifua (main photo) holds a knife outside Kokomo’s on 18 July 2020 before murdering Pitasoni Ulavalu (insert). Images: Screenshot/Facebook.

The self-described “coward” who stabbed a bikie boss to death in a Canberra nightclub will have his jail sentence appealed after it was labelled “simply insufficient”.

Frederick Elijah Mercy Tuifua murdered Canberra Comanchero commander Pitasoni ‘Soni’ Ulavalu by stabbing him in the neck during a brawl in Kokomo’s in 2020.

When asked why he did it, he said, “I really don’t have an explanation”.

He pleaded guilty to charges of murder and inflicting grievous bodily harm from the brawl, as well as to a charge of assault from a prison bashing in November 2020.

In the ACT Supreme Court late last year, Justice Michael Elkaim sentenced the 27-year-old to 20 years’ jail with a non-parole period of 10 years, meaning he is eligible to be released from custody as soon as 2031.

On Wednesday (2 February), the ACT Court of Appeal heard Crown Prosecutor Anthony Williamson had raised his intention to appeal the sentence on the same day it was handed down.

READ ALSO ‘Coward’ who murdered bikie boss in Kokomo’s brawl jailed for up to 20 years

Mr Williamson was appearing in the court on Wednesday to seek leave to appeal, which wasn’t opposed by Tuifua’s lawyer Jessica Fahmy, saying the focus would be on the length of the non-parole period.

He said the “crux of the argument” would be that the minimum of 10 years in jail for what Justice Elkaim had described as a “cowardly murder” and jail bashing was “simply insufficient”.

Justice David Mossop said due to how the sentence had been imposed, Tuifua would actually be held behind bars for at least 11 years, but Mr Williamson said even with 11 years, the sentence was still manifestly inadequate.

READ ALSO ‘Manifestly inadequate’ sentence of Frankie Prineas’s vicious killer to be appealed

Justice Mossop said he was satisfied there was an arguable ground of appeal and gave the Crown leave to file the appeal and case summary.

The matter will return to court in the future.

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