Families wait as babies inquest moved to Apia

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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WAITING IN SAVAI'I: Punipuao with her husband Timua (in blue t-shirt) from Safotu with Mareta with her adopted son and husband Samuelu from Sasina with a representative from the Samoa Victim Support Group in Tuasivi Savai'i, Tapualii Lagaaia.

WAITING IN SAVAI'I: Punipuao with her husband Timua (in blue t-shirt) from Safotu with Mareta with her adopted son and husband Samuelu from Sasina with a representative from the Samoa Victim Support Group in Tuasivi Savai'i, Tapualii Lagaaia. (Photo: Deidre Fanene)

A coronial inquest into the death of two babies at Savai’i following their vaccination has been adjourned to August 8 and will be held in Apia. 

Lannacallystah Samuelu and Lameko Si'u, both aged 1, died after receiving their measles, mumps and rubella (M.M.R.) shots at the Safotu Hospital.

The inquest was scheduled to start at Tuasivi, Savai’i yesterday.

But the lawyer representing the families of the two babies, Mauga Precious Chang, made an application for an early hearing on Tuesday at Tuasivi. 

This was held and subsequently led to the Court agreeing for the matter to be moved to Apia. 

“It was called on Tuesday and Precious Chang who is representing the two families made an application to refer the matter to Apia. The application was granted and the matter will be called again in the Coroner on the 8th of August for mention,” said police prosecutor Khamtahn Stanley 

Yesterday, the families of the babies turned up at Tuasivi.

The parents appeared in the District Court yesterday afternoon before Judge Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma.

They told him that their matter was scheduled to be called yesterday. 

But Judge Fepuleai told the parents that it was heard on Tuesday and has been adjourned to August 8.

Outside the Court House at Tuasivi, the parents of the two babies told the waiting media that a letter from the Police was given to them stating that the case involving their babies was to be called yesterday.  

 “That’s why we came because we received a letter from the Police saying our case will be called on the 25th which is today,” said Punipuao of Safotu.

“We haven’t been informed by our lawyer about any changes.”

She added that are still waiting for the results of the postmortem and were advised that they will be notified after two weeks. 

“So up until now we haven’t heard anything else." 

“My husband and I as well as our whole family said our farewell to our baby boy on Tuesday last week as we laid him to rest." 

“It was the hardest thing we have ever done so that’s why this case is very important because we want to know what really happened on the day.”

Mareta and Samuelu from Sasina bid farewell to their baby girl last Friday.

Mareta said: “We still miss our baby girl because she is our only child and because of that I had adopted my sister’s baby boy to raise as my own because I miss my daughter so much." 

“The wound is still there and it will never go away and that is why the results is very important for us.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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