Man's ritual gunshot salute brings charge

A man who fired a shotgun during a funeral in September, in what he says was merely a traditional display of respect for a deceased high chief, has been charged with discharging a weapon without reasonable cause. 

Malutaua Fa’amoetauloa Mauga Paisa initially pleaded guilty to one count of firing the pump-action shot gun without reasonable cause in at incident at Vailele for the funeral of a former Cabinet Minister, Fa’amoetauloa Dr. Fa’ale Tumaali’i. 

Appearing before the District Court on Tuesday, the defendant said his actions were a traditional custom designed to pay respects to the village's deceased High Chief. 

He said he had tried to explain to Police Officers at the scene of the incident that firing the shotgun was an act of respect. 

Malutaua confirmed he was the only one charged from the village. 

The presiding Judge, Fepulea'i Ameperosa Roma, said while the man has pleaded guilty, he would note it as a not guilty plea after hearing the defendant's explanation. 

The matter will be recalled on 4 December 2019. 

During the funeral of the former Cabinet Minister held in Vailele, men from the village were armed with weaponry including an axe, machetes and the firearm that was fired as the body of Fa’amoetauloa was carried to his resting place. 

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