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Men who killed Chinese man in Vaitele appear in court

The four men facing charges in connection with the death of a Chinese businessman last October in Vaitele appeared before Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala Warren adjourned the matter for Gogosina Leilua, Tafi Samuelu, Kome Sioeli and Mikaele Leilua to later this month on Wednesday, 24 June, to allow prosecution and defense to sort out the summary of facts.

It is also to allow defense an opportunity to prepare their responses to an application made by prosecution.

Prosecution made an application to impose the minimum sentence of 17 years in order for the one defendant who pleaded guilty to murder, to qualify for parole.

Murder carries a penalty of a life term in prison.

When a defendant is sentenced to life in prison, after 10 years, he or she is eligible for parole. 

Prosecution wants the Court to impose a minimum 17 years of incarceration before the defendant becomes eligible for parole if the Court should impose a term of life.

Prosecutor Lucy Sio Ofoia says they want 17 years or more.

Justice Tafaoimalo has allowed two weeks’ time for defense to respond to the application.

Defense attorney Leiataualesa Komisi Koria says they dispute the S.O.F. so the two-week period also gives both sides to sort out the S.O.F.

“Perhaps on that day we can read the Summary of Facts,” said Justice Tafaoimalo. “And then we will sort out a response date for Mr. Koria and then a sentencing date.”

Justice Tafaoimalo has set the next Court date for 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 24 June, 2020.

All defendants are remanded in custody until their next appearance.

Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

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