Attorney General leads prosecution in murder trial

Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, is leading the prosecution team in the murder trial of former Unit Trust of Samoa Chief Executive Officer, the late Sa’u Justina Sa’u. 

Lemalu is assisted by lawyer Magele Leone Su’a–Mailo of the Attorney General’s office. 

The accused Kolani Junior Lam is represented by lawyer, Leiataualesa Komisi Koria. 

Supreme Court Judge, Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala – Warren presided the matter.

The murder trial, which was scheduled to commence yesterday before a Judge sitting with assessors, did not proceed as planned. 

The defense counsel Leiataualesa resubmitted an application to have the trial presided by the Judge only. 

The submission followed a withdrawal of an application to trial by the Judge only made on Friday last week.  

“From further instruction I respectively advise we wish to refresh that application (trial by Judge only) your honour,” Leiataualesa told the Court. 

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In response, Lemalu said prosecution wishes to respond to the application. 

He added prosecution witnesses were also ready for Court.

Justice Tafaoimalo adjourned the matter for today for submissions on the trial before Judge only application. 

Outside Court, Lemalu said prosecution was ready to proceed but the application from defense counsel was re-filed formally and the Judge has to consider it. 

“We asked for no more delays so we have to get it ready and argue it tomorrow,” he said. 

Police is calling more than 20 witnesses for the hearing.

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. 

On Friday last week, Leiataualesa filed the application for trial by Judge only without the assessors. 

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. 

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