Four men appeared in the Supreme Court yesterday in connection with the assault of Tomesi Vaatele Isaako earlier this year.
Tomesi of Saletagaloa, Salelologa was the victim of an incident where a rifle was pointed at his mouth by the accused. The accused are Manuia Tanuvasa, Taalili Tagaloa, Kilifi Nifae Su’a and Vine Olomotu Suni, who are all from Salelavalu, Savai’i.
The matter was called before His Honour, Chief Justice Patu Tiavasue Falefatu Sapolu for the accused to enter a plea on the charges against them. Leone Su’a Mailo of the Attorney General’s Office represented the prosecution.
Chief Justice Patu asked the accused if they wanted a lawyer to represent them to which they replied in the negative.
During the course of the hearing, Ms. Mailo told the court that Manuia has two additional individual charges. According to the police summary of facts, he was armed with a 22-gauge rifle on May 27, 2018 without any reasonable cause. For the second charge, the 36-year-old pointed the rifle at Tomesi without reasonable cause. For the three other accused, they and Manuia had two charges laid against them. They are accused of intentionally burning down a Samoan fale without reasonable cause and assaulting Tomesi on May 27, 2018.
When the registrar asked the accused for their pleas, Manuia pleaded guilty to the two individual charges, but the other three pleaded not guilty.
Ms. Mailo told the court that it’s a matter for Chief Justice Patu to set a sentencing date for Manuia and a hearing date for the accused, who pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
In response, the Chief Justice said: “The court has noted down your guilty plea to all the charges against you Manuia Tanuvasa. This matter is adjourned to September 10 for sentence and for a pre-sentence report, and it will be called before Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala Warren.”
As for the other three accused, Chief Justice Patu said the court notes their not guilty pleas to the charges against them and set November 22-23 for the hearing.
“Therefore this matter is set for hearing on November 22-23, if you have anyone that you would like to bring to testify in your matter and in support of your not guilty plea then you can bring them on this date.”