An Assessors Trial for a 17-year-old accused of the attempted murder of his stepfather using a machete, has started.
Tele’ameko Kepaoa is facing charges of attempted murder and actual bodily harm which are both felony counts.
He’s represented by Leota Raymond Schuster while prosecuting, is Lucy Sio.
Presiding over the trial is Supreme Court Justice, Mata Tuatagaloa, who urged the assessors - three men and two women, not to consider media reports or any comments by anyone regarding this ongoing case.
“The reason is that you, as assessors must reach your decision uninfluenced by prejudice or sympathy,” said Justice Tuatagaloa.
She pointed out to the assessors the importance that “the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
The assessors were also informed that they are judges of the evidence “you decide what evidence to accept or reject, what weight to place on any of the evidence.
“You may disregard what I may say or appear to say on the evidence,” said Justice Tuatagaloa.
During the opening statements, the prosecutor informed the assessors, the matter at hand is between a stepson and his step father.
“The stepson, after hearing his step father telling off his (younger) siblings, planned to kill his stepfather.
And he did in fact try to kill him, by striking his step father with a machete.
“The machete was struck not once or twice, but multiple times,” Ms Sio alleged.
She further noted that on “Sunday evening of 28 February, 2016 the defendant’s mother and step father had an argument and the defendant was not present.”
The argument was in relation to the defendant and his sister and as a result, the victim packed his bags and left the house.
Ms Sio informed the assessors that there will be testimonies including that of the victim of his account of what happened.
“You’ll hear that while the victim was walking on the road, he heard someone following him. When he turned around, he saw the defendant holding a machete. The defendant immediately struck him.”
According to Ms Sio, the defendant stuck the victim “not one, not twice but multiple times.”
She said there will be 12 witnesses called by the prosecution, including the victim and those who were present during the incident and others who witnessed the event afterwards.
The prosecutor said a Medical Doctor will be another witness taking the stand.
The Defense counsel did not address the assessors with opening remarks on the matter and the hearing continues.