Providence man confesses to violent attack inside Logan restaurant

Booking photo for Benjo Atuai (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)

LOGAN — A 23-year-old Providence man has pleaded guilty to violently attacking another man inside a Logan restaurant almost three years ago. Benjo Atuai accepted a plea deal that could send him to jail for up to a year.

Atuai participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Wednesday morning, appearing by web conference. He pleaded guilty to an amended charge of assault, a class A misdemeanor.

Cache County Deputy Attorney Barbara Lachmar explained how Atuai was at the Logan restaurant Dec. 29, 2018. He got into an argument with another patron.

The fight continued and Atuai punched the other man in the head, causing several fractures to his face. The victim had to seek medical treatment.

Atuai was booked into the Cache County Jail following the fight. He was later released after posting $10,000 bond.

The case has been postponed partially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Atuai didn’t provide any details to the court about what prompted the fight, during Wednesday’s hearing. He spoke briefly through a Samoan interpreter, saying he was waiving his right to a trial and pleading guilty.

Judge Brian Cannell accepted Atuai’s plea deal. He ordered him to appear for sentencing Sept. 22.

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  • KJN August 5, 2021 at 11:01 pm Reply

    May I ask why if he has been in the US since 2018 does he not know basic English? Are there no incentives to assimilate? Our taxpayer funds are spent on so many things which could be avoided if we had basic requirements for citizenship. Native languages certainly should be retained in the home, etc. if desired, but so many times no effort is made to join the country in which immigrants now live which offers so many opportunities for a better life. This divides us further IMO.

    • Don August 6, 2021 at 9:20 am Reply

      That sounds nice in theory, but would you want to stand trial in another country with only a basic knowledge of their language? Nothing in the article indicates whether he has basic English skills, but in this type of situation, more than a basic level of communication is likely required to ensure that he understands what he is agreeing to. A guaranteed way to toss his guilty plea later is if he could claim he didn’t totally understand what he was agreeing to.

  • KJN August 6, 2021 at 5:09 pm Reply

    Perhaps I did not make my point clear. If he would have had basic knowledge of the language when he applied for citizenship in 2018, three years later one would assume he would have built on that. The article states he did not provide any details to the court. Details of an alleged assault and anger issues might be helpful for sentencing. Sad for him and for our community upon release. Of course I see your point of a possible reason for appeal in the absence of an interpreter.

    • Don August 8, 2021 at 3:43 pm Reply

      He can provide those details at the sentencing hearing. Why would he provide any details now?

    • skeetr August 9, 2021 at 8:52 am Reply

      If you read comments on here long enough you soon realize that even natural born citizens of the USA lack a basic knowledge of the English language.

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