A mentally ill man from New Zealand, Hans Dalton, who was found dead inside a gallon of water at Tafa’igata Prison on Boxing Day, did not commit suicide.

Contrary to earlier reports, the Police yesterday confirmed that a 21-year-old man has been charged with murder over Mr. Dalton’s death.

The confirmation was given by Assistant Police Commissioner, Le’aupepe Fatu Pula during a press conference, yesterday.

Although he declined to reveal the identity of the accused, Le’aupepe said the man was in custody at the Tafa’igata Prison when the incident occurred.

“The male is alleged to have assaulted Hans Dalton, causing his death,” said Le’aupepe. “The 21-year-old is charged with murder and will appear in the Supreme Court on 28th January.”

Le’aupepe explained that Mr. Dalton was referred to the Police by the Mental Health Unit. Mr. Dalton was then transferred to the Tafa’igata Prison, where other mentally ill patients, are transferred.

“He became too violent downstairs (at Police Headquarter in Apia) and so he was taken to Tafaigata,” said Le’aupepe.

“The thing is the system in place is very poor.”

Le’aupepe said since the story about Mr. Dalton surfaced, everyone have blamed the Police.

“The weight of the blame is on us but the issue is something that is for the Health Department.”

Mr. Dalton, 38 years old of New Zealand suffered from a “thought disorder” that required him to take medication.

When cyclone Evan struck, he could not find his medication.  A day later when he eventually found his medication, he became very uncomfortable.

So he was taken to Psychiatrist, Dr. Ian Parkin at the Mental Health Unit, Moto’otua.

Dr. Parkin claimed that Mr. Dalton couldn’t be detained at the Mental Health Unit – since he had smashed a glass window. So they had had to refer him to police.

It was not possible to obtain a comment from Mr. Dalton’s family yesterday.

During a previous interview, however, Mr. Dalton’s mother, Christine Bowker Wilson refused to believe that her son took his own life.

“I think it’s very dangerous to assume. I don’t know if it was another prisoner or one of the staff. I think at the back of it all is a lack of understanding of mental illness.”


+3 #5 2013-01-24 22:50
Hans Dalton was taken to the hospital to be calmed down from his agitation but ended up in prison without the family's knowledge or consent.Why weren't the prison cell-doors locked so the inmates can't have access to each others? And where were the so called police while the assault was taking place? The police clearly stated 'suicide' from day one. Now where did that information come from without a full investigation or a coroner's report? It sounded like the police already concluded the case before it even begun. I bet the poor scape-goat is someone with a mental health issue as well & I hope he will not end up in another water gallon to cover up the polices' stupid pre-mature assumptions. To Christine, Tash & family.......make sure you take these b's to the cleaners.
+1 #4 2013-01-18 16:12
The truth can never be buried forever, no matter how long it takes, it will always come out. R.I.P Mr Dalton. Condolences to the family. May God give you all peace
+15 #3 2013-01-18 13:24
It seems that Hans Dalton's mother will be proved right in her conviction that her son did not take his own life. The Assistant Police Commissioner is also right that the system in place for dealing with mentally ill people is very poor. For example, putting an agitated, mentally unwell man in a room with glass is far from ideal. Exposing him to the risk of physical assault and unlawful killing is also unacceptable. The latest development in this tragic case raises concerns about the safety in the same prison facility of the man now charged with Hans Dalton's murder. I sincerely hope that long term solutions are being pursued as a matter of priority so system failings and responsibility (rather than the blame) can be established and addressed before any further tragedies are allowed to occur. I understand this is not the first but hope it will be the last such incident.
+19 #2 2013-01-18 12:51
what an unbelievable and implausible to read this article as I am the one who asked the police officers right infront of my family, on the day Hans murdered. I asked them who else was locked inside the cell with Hans, and they answered back that Hans was alone in the room. Police officers strongly suggested to us on that that too that Hans was committed suicide although we are not stupid enough to believe them according to bruises we seen all over his body.

My concern here is the releasing of false information by the officers without proper investigation and consultation with others who were on duty at Tafaigata prison.
+10 #1 2013-01-18 12:17
Unbelievable. Mental people need protection and security. Maybe the guy who is responsible for his death is also mental. All the organizations/insitution involved are to be blame for bad handling of the poor guy including the physiatric. It is not a good reputation for Samoa to treat mental people that way, that tells your "menefreghismo" no care at all and unprofessional in handling such situation of people who cannot defend themselves.

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