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.”
The last few weeks were clearly not the best of times for embattled Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi. The front page headlines during that time were surely both revealing and scathing they might have provoked someone with an unsteady mental stamina to reconsider his priorities.
We hear so many stories about bad and extremely poor customer service in Samoa. As proud Samoans, sometimes we turn the other way.
That’s because we so understand what people are complaining about and we know we’ve had to put up with it for so long that we’ve somewhat become immune to its annoyance.
We know this much. Peace and stability are necessary ingredients for the good life of all. They are vitally important so that the people of any country can live happily together.
Well there you have it. After a long wait, a Parliamentary Special Inquiry Committee appointed to investigate the allegation that the “Ministry of Revenue staff are dishonest in revenue collection” has found the claim to be true.