Kolani Lam asks Court to appeal guilty verdict

The man found guilty of murdering his wife and former Unit Trust of Samoa C.E.O., Sa’u Justina Sa’u, wants to appeal the Supreme Court ruling last year that found him guilty.

Kolani Lam, who was found guilty by the Supreme Court in December last year and sentenced to life imprisonment, has instructed his lawyer to appeal the decision.

Defense lawyer, Leiataualesa Komisi Koria, appeared on behalf his client before Supreme Court Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa on Tuesday to file a notice of appeal.

But the prosecutor and Assistant Director of the National Prosecution Office, Leone Sua-Mailo, opposed the application.

Justice Tuatagaloa explained that the matter has to do “with an extension of time that needs to be dealt with” and if the Supreme Court hears the matter, the decision can later be heard by the Court of Appeals or it can also be taken directly to the Court of Appeals.

However, Sua-Mailo asked that the matter be heard by the Supreme Court.

But Justice Tuatagaloa, as the one who presided over the Supreme Court proceedings that found Lam guilty, asked the defense and prosecuting lawyers if she should recuse herself.

“Should I recuse myself from hearing that? Given it is my decision and a procedural matter because I see this as a procedural matter and this procedural matter is in regard to that decision,” she said.

According to Justice Tuatagaloa, “an exchange has to happen” for both attorneys to appear before the Court to argue their positions, while well informed of the opposing counsel’s submissions.

The Court then ordered that the lawyers should file their submissions including their responses to the other counsel. The defense has until 3 July to file and serve their submissions and the prosecution has until July 10 to reciprocate.

The hearing has been set for 17 July before the Supreme Court.

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