Faleatiu men found guilty of grievous bodily harm

Iolamo Mo’a and his co-defendant, Fotu Baby Mo’a, of Faleatiu have been found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent following a land dispute in the village during which a firearm was discharged. 

Iolamo pleaded guilty to other charges of using threatening words and Fotu pleaded guilty to being armed with a dangerous weapon, namely a 9-millimetre pistol; not being armed for a lawful purpose, and discharging the firearm

But they had both pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm and the matter went to trial. 

The guilty ruling was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Tologata Leilani Tuala-Warren on Friday.

The prosecution argued that at Faleatiu on 20 April this year, the accused Iolamo hit a man on the head with a gun, while Fotu discharged a firearm which wounded a victim on the leg.

The court heard that it was undisputed evidence that on the morning in question an altercation relating to a family land dispute occurred outside land at Faleatiu.

“This land is the cause of the altercation. The altercation was between the parents of the accused and their mother’s sisters,” Police evidence alleged. 

“The sisters and workers had arrived at the land to do [work] there. The offending is alleged to have occurred at that altercation.”

Justice Tologata said there was proof beyond reasonable doubt that  Iolamo intended to cause grievous bodily harm to the victim and did so by hitting him over the head with a gun.

“I am also satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Fotu intended to cause actual bodily harm to the [second victim] and caused an injury by firing a bullet that ricocheted off the ground and hit the victim’s leg,” she said. 

“The intent of the accused to cause bodily harm to the victims are inferred from their words and their actions. Iolamo admits to hitting Saputo over the head because he was not listening to him. Fotu admits that he discharged his gun.

“I am satisfied the first victim’s injury, namely a head laceration injuries requiring 2-3 stitches falls within definition of serious bodily harm which includes a wound (breaking of the skin).

“I am satisfied the second victim’s injury, namely a superficial wound to the right leg is an injury calculated to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim, thereby falling within the definition of actual bodily harm.”

Justice Tologata ordered that the men will be sentenced on 13 November this year and ordered a probation report. 

Fotu is one of 11 defendants facing drug charges in connection with the biggest marijuana bust in the history of the country, which netted $10 million tala worth of marijuana in November 2019. The November raid resulted in the seizure of some 10,000 marijuana plants, firearms and cash.  


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