Family wants justice for assaulted elderly man

The family of a 73-year-old man who was robbed and assaulted a fortnight ago want the perpetrators brought to justice. 

Graham Upton suffered injuries to his head and bruises to his body as a result of an attack that occurred inside the Accident Compensation Corporation building on January 12 this year.

His wife, Mary,  said her husband was picking up his medication, and diverted to meet with a friend at the Alley Café Bar in the A.C.C. building. The attack occurred when he went to use the restroom, which is located outside the café, but within the A.C.C. building. 

“I was told that when Graham went to the restroom – that’s when he was struck – he fell and the culprits proceeded to kick him and then took off with his wallet. The wallet had $400 cash, credit cards and identification cards."

“I got the call and I rushed to the hospital, and he had a big hole on the back of his head and he was in pain all over his body. This is a 73-year-old man, a great grandfather and he wouldn’t hurt a fly, yet he was an easy target to these people,” she said. 

Mrs. Upton told the Sunday Samoan that the Police arrived on the same day to get more details of the attack.

“I referred the Police to an eye witness – who was my husband’s friend – to explain what happened. And before the Police left, they said for my husband to come down to the Police station, to file a complaint and to make a statement." 

“I knew with the condition that my husband was in, it was impossible for him to be released from the hospital, so I told the Police to come back the next day to take his statement of the robbery and assault." 

“When the Police did not show up, I contacted my three sons living overseas ti come to Samoa to help with their father and get some answers from the Police,” she added.

Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, has not responded to an email sent by the Sunday Samoan seeking his comments on the issue. The same email was copied to the Deputy Commissioner Papali’i Monalisa Tiai-Keti. 

Alley Café Bar staff, Serafina Tanielu, confirmed the incident when contacted yesterday by the Sunday Samoan. 

“We are aware of what occurred to one of our customers, outside of the restroom which is not located inside the bar. We have cameras and to date the Police have not been to the bar to inquire about the footage or question the staff working that night,” she said.  

William Upton and his two brothers arrived recently in Samoa and called into the Ministry of Police, only to be told that there is no formal investigation into their father’s assault. 

The lack of action by the Police has confused him, as his father is a Samoan citizen who has lived here for over 20 years.

“I don’t understand why the Police are not investigating the attack of my father, a citizen of Samoa who has lived here for more than 20 years. 

“A contributing member of society, a tax payer and the Police are not lifting a finger to look for the culprits to attack my father. 

“This is not the Samoa I use to know, I am Samoan and to see my father assaulted and robbed, the cowardice act should not be tolerated,” he added.   

According to Mr. Upton, the matter was listed under “Police help” category and the Police are waiting for his father to file a complaint before they can proceed with an investigation. 

Mary Monks, Gram’s New Zealand-based sister who flew in to check on her brother, expressed disappointment with the Police lack of action and fears Samoa is no longer a safe place. 

“My brother is an elderly man – yet was robbed and assaulted…I am very scared to go anywhere in Samoa alone. I never used to be scared but considering what occurred to my brother, who again is an elderly man, I don’t think this is a safe place.” 

Due to the attack on Mr. Upton, the owner of Alley Café Bar is reviewing its security arrangements. Attempts to get comments from the A.C.C. building management on the incident were unsuccessful.

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