Two months after death, family wants answers
A Vaiusu family is questioning the status of a Police investigation into the death of one of its members, Penitito Toma, two months after he was fatally beaten.
Last November, the Commissioner of Police, Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil, told the Samoa Observer that Mr. Toma had been beaten in the early hours of a Saturday morning and later died in hospital.
The following day a Police prosecutor, Sergeant Khamtahn Stanley, was suspended from duty in a development which was connected to an investigation into Mr. Toma’s death.
One family member, who did not wish to be named for fear of repercussions from the village, said despite Mr. Toma being dead for more than two months it appeared no progress had been made in an investigation into his death.
“The Police came to our house the night of the incident and informed us of what [had] occurred and two months later no one has been charged. Where is the justice in that?,” the family member said.
But last month the Commissioner said the investigation had been completed and the case file was referred to the Office of the Attorney General.
“We have completed our investigation," he said.
"The file is being reviewed by the A.G.’s office. We have formulated the charges and we are now waiting on the A.G.’s office for their final recommendation and then the Police will do what needs to be done,” the Commissioner said.
To date Attorney General Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff has not responded to questions about the suspended prosecutor.
Police suspect alcohol was a contributing factor to the incident
The suspension of the high ranked non-commissioned officer was confirmed by the Police Commissioner in November.
The Sergeant had prosecuted a number of high-profile cases during a career with the Ministry of the Police which saw him rise quickly through Police ranks.
The 20-year-old Toma, passed away at Tupua Tamasese Hospital from his injuries.