Men jailed for manslaughter

By Deidre Tautua – Fanene ,

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JAIL: (R-L) - Viliamu Ieti, Mikaele Siaosi and Faatoa Simani inside the court after sentencing on Monday morning by Justice Tafaoimalo.

JAIL: (R-L) - Viliamu Ieti, Mikaele Siaosi and Faatoa Simani inside the court after sentencing on Monday morning by Justice Tafaoimalo.

Three young men were sentenced to jail on the charge of manslaughter.

They are Mikaele Siaosi, Viliamu Ieti and Faatoa Simani. 

The decision was handed down by Supreme Court Justice, Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala – Warren, on Monday morning.

Mikaele was represented by Leafa Donald Kerslake, Viliamu was represented by Diana Roma and Leiataualesa Komisi Koria represented Faatoa. 

All defendants appeared for sentence on one joint charge of manslaughter pursuant to section 102 and 108 of the Crimes Act 2013. 

The maximum penalty is life imprisonment. 

They were all found guilty on 21 November, 2017, by a panel of assessors after a defendant hearing.

According to the evidence, on 27 April, 2017, some time in the evening, the deceased was at home with his wife and children.

The deceased’s wife heard someone yelling from the road,  she and her other son ran to the road to see what was happening because she suspected it was her other son who was yelling. 

The wife of the deceased was running behind his son, but her son ran back and took his mother’s hand and told her to run back to their house.

The other son came too and told his mother and his other brother to go back to their house.

At the time, the defendant’s car arrived. 

Some of the defendants were walking in front of the car. 

According to Justice Tuala, there was evidence that the defendants were swearing and uttering threatening words.

The two brothers began fighting with the defendants and that’s when the deceased came running from their home and then the first named defendant, Mikaele, punched the deceased and the deceased fell. 

The deceased got back up and continued to fight with the defendants, while the deceased’s wife and two sons ran to their house.

A little while later, when the defendants had left, the two sons went and carried the deceased to their faleoo, he was unconscious. He was taken to hospital where he passed away on 29 April, 2017.

A post-mortem examination was carried out on the deceased. 

The cause of death, as determined by the pathologist, was complication of intra cerebellar haemorrhage because of blunt force trauma. 

In reading out the aggravating features, Justice Tafaoimalo said this was a group attack.

“This was a group attack on the deceased at the point when his sons and wife left, leaving the deceased alone with the defendants and this made him vulnerable,” she said.

“There was violence involved because the deceased suffered numerous injuries, apart from that which caused his death, such as abrasion with laceration on left side neck region, linear lacerations along and below the left mandible region, laceration and haematoma on the left side lips, two incisors teeth missing on left upper side and left lower side, bruising on the left side chest and bruising on the left of the abdomen. 

“Although none of these injuries were the cause of death, these were the injuries inflicted by the defendants on the deceased, which indicate a severe beating of the deceased by the defendants.  

“I find a level of premeditation on the part of the defendants to get into an altercation with the deceased as the evidence points to the defendants swearing and uttering threatening words.

“I find it aggravating that the defendants left the scene without rendering assistance, leaving the deceased with injuries to his body.”

She took eight years recommended by prosecution as a starting point for her sentencing.

“Having therefore taken into account the aggravating features of the offending, I take eight years as a starting point for sentence for all defendants,” she said.

 “I have departed from Nepa guidelines for an unprovoked group attack.

“The previous conviction of Viliamu is not relevant to uplift given it was for a minor offence of insulting words five years ago.

 “The mitigating factors for each defendant will be deducted as follows:

 “Mikaele, from the eight years, I will deduct one and a half years for his contribution to his village, church and family, and his personal circumstances. 

“I deduct one and a half years for the ifoga carried out to the matai of the deceased family, his apology and the forgiveness by the wife of the deceased.

“I deduct six months for the level of provocation which was present, and finally I deduct six months for his remorse.

“Mikaele Siaosi is therefore convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to four years imprisonment, less any time spent in custody.

“Viliamu Eti, from the eight years starting point, I deduct one and a half years for his contribution to his family in particular and the testimonials in his favour. 

“I deduct one and a half years for the ifoga carried out to the matai of the deceased family, his apology and the forgiveness by the wife of the deceased. 

“I deduct six months for the level of provocation which was present, and finally I deduct six months for his remorse.”

Viliamu is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to four years imprisonment, less any time spent in custody.

For Faatoa, from a starting point of eight years, I deduct one year for his age, being only 20 years old. I deduct one year for his personal circumstances and good character.  

“I deduct one and a half years for the ifoga carried out to the matai of the deceased family, his apology and the forgiveness by the wife of the deceased.

 “I deduct six months for the level of provocation which was present, and finally I deduct six months for his remorse.

“Faatoa Samani is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment.”

Justice Tafaoimalo also issued a coronial ruling.

“I issue a coronial finding to certify that Konelio Peteru, born on the 28 April, 1972, of Vaoala, died on 29 April, 2017, at T.T.M. Hospital Motootua as a result of complication of intra cerebellar haemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the back of the head. 

“The perpetrators have been dealt with according to the law.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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