A teenager who took a knife to a gang fight and then fatally stabbed a “kind and cheerful” 15-year-old boy in the chest has been jailed for two years.
Solomone Taufeulungaki was set upon by a group of teenagers wielding knives and baseball bats at Brimbank Shopping Centre car park in Melbourne’s west.
Following days of fights between two youth gangs, on June 16, 2020, Solomone was dragged to the ground and hit with a baseball bat.
He died after one of the boys, aged 15 at the time, stabbed him through the left side of his chest, piercing his heart.
Solomone was left to die on the ground, as the group of boys fled after the stabbing.
The young man who inflicted the fatal wound, who cannot be named, is now aged 18 and faced the Supreme Court on Friday where he was jailed after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Solomone Taufeulungaki was fatally stabbed in a brawl.
Supported by his parents, the teen was expressionless as Justice Amanda Fox jailed him for two years in a youth justice centre.
“You are the one who brandished the knife and you are responsible for the death of Solomone,” she said.
“There were 10 of you and one of him. Several of you had weapons and Solomone was defenceless when your group attacked him in a public place.”
Solomone’s parents remembered him as a gentle boy who was “happy, kind and cheerful” and wanted to become a police officer and rugby player one day, in statements to the court.
Fox said the crime had not only devastated Solomone’s friends and family, but also created fear within the community in which he once lived.
The teen’s lawyers had argued he should not be handed extra jail time as they claimed he did not want to kill Solomone, he wanted to scare him.
“This is a situation involving young boys and some young men involved in some pointless demonstration of aggressive teenage masculinity,” his barrister Richard Edney told a pre-sentence hearing.
Fox found the 18-year-old had good rehabilitation prospects as his family had relocated him to Queensland to be away from the negative influence of youth gangs.
Solomone’s father ’Atunaisa is overcome with grief at the spot where his son was killed, next to Solomone’s mother Salome and aunt in June 2020.Credit:Eddie Jim
He has plans to become an electrician, no longer uses drugs and only has the occasional drink of alcohol.
However, she said she wanted to use the sentence to send a message to young people as it was becoming “increasingly common” for them to bring knives to a fight.
“Teenagers are bringing knives to fights with the tragic result that young people are being killed,” Fox said.
“Brandishing a knife in the course of a group attack against a lone targeted victim makes the act dangerous and more serious.”
‘Teenagers are bringing knives to fights with the tragic result that young people are being killed’
The teen has already spent more than seven months in jail, which will be counted as time served.
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