Tongan national who recorded ‘horrific’ cat bashing ordered to do community service work

A man who recorded the “horrific and prolonged” bashing of a cat in WA’s South West and uploaded it to WhatsApp has been ordered to do community service.

Tevita Fifita Vaenuku, who has been in prison for a month, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.

WARNING: This article contains details that some people may find distressing.

The Perth Magistrates Court heard the 27-year-old had recorded co-worker Max Loketi attacking the cat in March.

Vaenuku, a Tongan national, was working and residing on a farming property at Hamel, south of Perth, when the incident occurred.

The brief but disturbing video was played in the courtroom.

Max Loketi held the cat by the tail and hit it several times with a pole or stick and then slammed it onto the floor.

The 28-year-old continued to hit the cat before throwing it outside.

Max Loketi (left) has been jailed over the attack.(ABC News: Supplied)

During the attack, Vaenuku can he heard laughing and speaking in Tongan.

Vaenuku uploaded the vision to WhatsApp and Loketi’s employer reported it to police.

Wednesday’s court proceedings were conducted with the assistance of a Tongan interpreter via audio link.

Pleas for attack to stop ‘frivolous or sarcastic’: Prosecution

Prosecutor Ian Weldon told the court Vaenuku was charged on the basis that he was encouraging the attack.

“Although Mr Vaenuku could be heard to say ‘stop it before the cat dies’ and ‘stop doing that to the poor cat’, the overall tenor of the actions and the conversation acted as a clear encouragement,” he said.

Mr Weldon told the court those statements had to be viewed as “either frivolous or sarcastic”.

His lawyer, David Rice, told the court his client was in Australia on a work permit to pick fruit.

Before his arrest, Vaenuku was living in premises at the site and had since lost his job.

Mr Rice said his client meant to share the video with other Tongan workers via WhatsApp but “must’ve pressed the wrong button” and made it public.

Laughter ‘encouraged the assault’: Magistrate

Magistrate Cillian Stockdale described the attack as “horrific and prolonged”.

“The treatment of this animal is extremely serious,” he told the court.

He accepted Vaenuku asked Loketi to stop.

“What, however, is more prominent is your laughter at what was occurring,” he said, saying this encouraged the assault.

Magistrate Stockdale sentenced the 27-year-old to a community-based order.

He noted Vaenuku had been in custody for a month, in circumstances where other prisoners did not know his language and this would have made the experience more difficult.

He ordered Vaenuku to do 40 hours of community service if he remained in WA, and to undergo counseling for anger management and the proper treatment of animals.

Max Loketi was recently jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to animal cruelty.

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