Hearing date for accused nurses unconfirmed

A hearing date for two nurses – who have been charged and accused of the death of two babies after receiving the MMR vaccination last year – is yet to be confirmed. 

Leutogi Teo and Luse Emo Tauvale appeared for the third time before the Supreme Court for criminal mention. 

The lawyer representing them, Tauiliili Lefau Harry Schuster has not appeared in Court in any of those matters. 

On Monday this week, Chief Justice His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu, urged the nurses to find another lawyer if Tauiliili did not appear again next week. 

The Chief Justice also made it clear that the non-appearance of the lawyer should not prevent the Court from continuing its proceedings. 

“The Court should not have to wait for your lawyer, until he is available then your matter can be dealt with,” Chief Justice Patu told the nurses. 

“If you require another lawyer it is best you find another one. The matter has been called before and your lawyer has not appeared. It does not right for you both and so as to the Court.”

Chief Justice Patu then asked the nurses if they would want to seek another legal counsel. In response the pair said no.  

The Chief Justice then made it clear that come next week – and if the lawyer still did not appear in Court – he will then make an order for them to find another legal counsel. He reminded the nurses to inform their lawyer of the matter next week. 

Prosecutor Lucy Sio Ofoia told the Court her office had liaised with Tauiliili to have the hearing scheduled on the week commencing June 3. However, he has not responded to the request. The matter has been adjourned for criminal mention next week. 

Both Ms. Teo and Ms. Tauvale are facing charges of manslaughter, conspiracy to defeat the course of justice and negligence in relation to the death of the two babies in Savai'i last year. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

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