Accused in murder sought trial without assessors

The man accused of the murder of former Unit Trust of Samoa Chief Executive Officer, the late Sa’u Justina Sau made an application to have his trial proceed only without assessors. 

Accused Kolani Junior Lam is charged with the murder of Sa’u with alternative charges of manslaughter, common assault in respect of his step daughter, possession of narcotics and conspiracy to defeat the cause of justice. 

He pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

His lawyer Leiataualesa Komisi Koria filed the application before Supreme Court yesterday. 

Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala – Warren presided the matter. 

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Lawyer Magele Leone Sua – Mailo was the prosecutor. 

The application was referred and discussed in chamber and has been withdrawn. It was not discussed in Court why the application from the defense counsel was withdrawn. 

Justice Tafaoimalo then adjourned the matter for hearing on Tuesday 26 February 2019. 

According to the Criminal Procedure Act 2016 part 6 (1) a defendant charged with an offence punishable by life imprisonment is to be tried by a Judge sitting with five (5) assessors.  

Under the Crimes Act 2013, a person who commits murder shall upon conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for life. 

Earlier this week, an application to allow two young witnesses to give evidence via video link was granted by the Supreme Court. 

The application means that the two young witnesses can give evidence via video link and Lam will not be able to see them. 

Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Falefatu Sapolu said the application is so that the accused will not be able to see the witnesses but the lawyers for defense and prosecution will be able to. 

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