"I'm very protective of my wife" - Lam
Kolani Junior Lam says he was always protective of his wife and was often very concerned about her.
Lam is the man accused over the death of former Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of the Unit Trust of Samoa (U.T.O.S.), Sa’u Justina Fa’asamoa.
During the ongoing hearing, Lam was questioned about why he always insisted that Sa'u comes home right way, after work every day.
During cross examination by Assistant Attorney General, Magele Leone Su’a, she queried Lam about his expectation for his wife to be home by 5.30 p.m.
Lam said he only wanted her to be safe.
“I’m very protective of my wife,” he replied. “If she wants to go to dinner, I tell her go but come home early. I’m very protective of her because if she goes and something happens to her, or ends up in hospital, I don’t want to hear anything like that if it happens.”
Lam, 39, has pleaded not guilty to murder, and alternative charge of manslaughter, common assault and conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.
Pressed on his demands for his wife to be home straight after work, Lam said he did not have a car and he wanted to use Sa'u's work vehicle so they could go shopping.
“I don’t demand her to be home. All I want is for her to get home.”
The prosecution then questioned Lam about the evidence from Talei Ah Liki and Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai.
“Talei has given evidence that Justina said she had to do U.T.O.S. aerobics before 5 p.m. because she has to be home by 5pm,” Magele asked Lam.
The defendant maintained that he only wants his wife to get home.
It was also put to Lam that Tofilau testified that if she had not called Sa’u to remind her about their friends' dinner, she would not have attended it.
“I don’t recall what happened on that day and I don’t stop her from going anywhere,” he said.
“I just want her to come home straight after, I’m just concerned about her.”
Moving on, the defendant was also questioned about how Sa’u’s usual way of responding to their disagreement was walking away from him.
The prosecution put it to the defendant if it's true that Sa’u usually goes to her cousin’s home when they get into disagreements.
But Lam took issue with the way the prosecution worded the sentence.
“You make it sound like it happens all the time – it's not common,” he replied.
Magele put it to Lam that there have been about four occasions where Sa’u left to go to her cousin, Ann Trevor, at Ululoloa because of their disagreements.
"I don’t know," he replied.
He also denied that he did not go to get her back when she leaves him.
“Is it a sin if I don’t go after her to get her back,” asked Lam. “It doesn’t mean I’m guilty.”
Prosecution again put it to Lam if it was the norm for Sa’u to walk away, or leave, when they get into a disagreement.
At this point, Magele put it to Lam that there was not one time that his wife attempted to commit suicide when they got into a disagreement.
“Never once did you have a disagreement with her that she tried to take her own life,” asked prosecution.
“It isn’t in her.”
Lam replied that he agrees that she did not attempt to commit suicide before when they get into disagreement.
However, he disagrees that his wife had not thought about committing suicide.
“I cannot read what is on her mind,” he insisted.
Magele raised it with Lam that he had given evidence that he knows his wife better that her closest friends.
In response, Lam said while he knows his wife, he does not know her completely - or what she was thinking most of the time.
The prosecution continued to put questions to the defendant of the many challenges that Sa’u had encountered in her life but rose above it.
“After the loss of her father – her husband then passed away,” said Magele.
“Not long after her husband died she found out about her husband’s extra marital affairs. After all of those challenges and trials in her life there was not once instance did she say she wanted to take her own life?"
In response, Lam said no.
“We spent a lot of time together and I observed her sometimes,” he explained.
“I know she is troubled when she starts talking differently but I don’t care about those, I still care about her.”
On the night of the incident, Lam disputed evidence from police witnesses; Sio Aukusitino and Junior that the defendant never once went to check on their children on that night.
He maintained that they both played a part on that night in going inside the house to check on their children.
Prosecution had also put it to Lam that his closest friend by the name, Sola, from the Land Transport Authority had given evidence about the day Sa’u died.
According to Magele the witness was asked by the Judge if he had believed what Lam had told him that Sa’u had taken her life.
“Your closest friend didn’t believe you. He was asked by the Judge if he believed you when you said that she committed suicide, he said no,” said Magele.
Lam said he understands his friend’s feelings.
Prosecution then summarised Lam’s evidence of what had happened on the night before Sa’u died.
Magele made reference to his evidence that Lam had stated they were still drinking with Sa’u, he then went inside the house for about 15 minutes to check the kids and by the time he came back, he saw his wife hanging from the starfruit tree.
She then put it to him that from Sio’s evidence, he had told him that they were sleeping and Sa’u had left the room three times to go to the restroom.
It was Sio’s evidence that Lam had also told him that he had fallen asleep and when he woke up he found she was not in the room and went looking for her.
That was when he found her outside under the tree.
But Lam disputed the evidence of Sio saying that it is not correct.
The prosecution also put it to Lam that Sio’s evidence is consistent with Sa’u’s one earring found in their bed and another was found on her dress that she had worn that night.
Magele said the earring from Sa’u could only have come off from a struggle.
Lam agreed but he maintained that they were not in the room.
Prosecution had also questioned the defendant that it would not have been possible for Sa’u to untie the rope allegedly used for hanging as it was tightly tied to the back door.
“She would not have been able to do that given her height, she is short and you would have caught her doing all this before she hung herself,” said Magele.
Lam replied yes.
It was also put to the defendant that Sa’u loved her children and she would not have taken her life because she loves them.
He said yes.
Magele had also asked Lam how long he tried to resuscitate Sa’u. He said it was almost for an hour.
Prosecution then moved to question the defendant on the Pathologist's report. Magele put it Lam that from the specialist’s report, Sa’u’s injuries could not have been from a single application of force on her neck.
Lam disputed this, saying he does not accept it.
It was also put to him that from the Pathologist’s evidence, the injuries sustained by Sa’u could not have been self-inflicted.
Before prosecution could ask more questions to the defendant on the report, defence counsel, Leiataualesa Komisi Koria objected.
He told the Court that defence does not challenge the expert’s evidence.
The hearing continues on Tuesday with defence calling more witnesses.