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COVID-19 in U.S. impacting court hearing

The COVID-19 global pandemic is having an effect on court proceedings due to the inability of witnesses to appear to give evidence as they reside in the U.S.

A murder trial with six defendants went before Chief Justice His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese on Thursday morning during callover. 

The accused Rapi Foai, Kuka Foai, Kolose Foai, Iliafi Tau, Tuiuli Saofaiga and Winston Reupena are facing a charge of murder in connection with the death of a man in Manono.

Prosecutor Magele Leone Sua Mailo told the court that the hearing is delayed due to the coronavirus situation in America, as a witness who is expected to testify in the trial lives in the U.S. but is unable to travel due to the grounding of all international travel as well as border closures.

The defence counsels are Afamasaga Michael Soonalole, Leiataualesa Komisi Koria, Mauga Precious Chang, Fepulea’i Patrick Fepulea’i and Lefau Harry Schuster. They were represented by Arthur Lesa, who appeared on their behalf at the hearing on Thursday.

The Chief Justice adjourned the matter for mention next Monday, 3 August, 2020 and will preside over the two-day murder trial.

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