Four men to stand trial over alleged stoning death
The trial of for four men accused of killing a father-of-six in Samalaeulu, Savai’i last year will begin on Tuesday in the Supreme Court.
Defendants Foaga Ipu Piki, Leu Saulo, Paulo Mika, and Mamoe Aiesi Lafoga, appeared before Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala Warren on Monday.
The defendants, who are from Samalaeulu, have all pleaded not guilty to stoning and beating a man to death while he was in his car last September.
It is alleged the victim, who is also from Samalaeulu, was driving past the four men when they threw stones at his car.
When the victim left his car to investigate, he was allegedly struck with a rock on his head before the defendants continued to beat him after he fell unconscious.
The men were alleged to have been under the influence of alcohol.
The men are charged as parties to one joint charge of manslaughter and principals in one joint charge of throwing stones and one joint charge of being armed with a dangerous weapon.
The trial will be determined by five assessors: three women and two men, who were sworn in on Monday.
Justice Tafaoimalo provided the assessors with instructions and adjourned the hearing to Tuesday to allow for technical matters to be addressed in advance of the hearing.
Each of the accused has engaged separate lawyers.
Lafoga is represented by Afa Lesa; Piki is represented by Afamasaga Michael Soonalole; Saulo is represented by Leiataualesa Komisi Koria; and Charlie Vaai will represent Mika.
The prosecutors on the case are Lucymaria Sio Ofoia and Quentin Sauaga from the Attorney General’s Office.
The hearing will begin at 2pm.