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Accused says he used machete in self-defense

A man on trial in the Supreme Court for attempted murder has claimed self-defense, saying he struck the victim with a machete three times after the victim challenged him first and swung his own machete but missed.

The closing submissions for the defendant, So'o Pasila, who is from Nofoali'i and Tuana'i, were done in the Supreme Court on Monday afternoon before Justice Fepulea’i Ameperosa Fepulea’i.

The defendant has been charged with attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm for hitting another Nofoalii man with a machete in the village on 13 January, 2020.

Admitting to striking the victim Faaui Tanielu three times, the actions of the defendant severed a chunk of flesh from the victim’s forearm to cause lacerations to his upper and lower back on the right side of his body.

But the defendant did it in self-defense, the Court was told. His assessors’ trial began last week before Supreme Court Justice Fepulea’i Ameperosa Fepulea’i with 10 prosecution witnesses testified, including the victim.

The self-defense claim is important because if prosecution has not disproved that the defendant struck the victim in self-defense, the assessors must acquit the defendant, Justice Fepulea’i said in court.

A caution statement from the defendant was also submitted as evidence by the Police, a day after the incident.

According to the caution statement tendered in court, an argument between the defendant’s wife and her sister took place at home and was a precursor to the machete fight.

The defendant told the Police that after the argument between the two women, he went to the plantation located inland at Nofoalii with his machete.

When he got to the plantation, the victim was resting in a tin shed. 

The defendant said Tanielu challenged him and tried to strike him three times with his machete but missed on the three occasions. The defendant then retaliated and the three strikes sent the victim to the hospital.

Tanielu was rushed to the Leulumoega Hospital and then to the Motootua Hospital where he was treated by a Dr. Chandra Tuilagi.

The defendant himself did not take the witness stand as is his constitutional right, Justice Fepulea’i noted.

Justice Fepulea’i then provided assessors with instructions after closing submissions were given by prosecutors Lucymaria Sio Ofoia and Quention Sauaga and defense counsel Unasa Iuni Sapolu.

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