Woman on infanticide charges in court

A 24-year-old woman who allegedly dumped her newborn baby girl in Vailuutai in September appeared for mention in the Supreme Court.

The defendant Merea or Mele Lagiselota made her first appearance in the Supreme Court early this month.

She is facing charges of infanticide but the prosecution has flagged plans to file additional charges.

Lagiselota appeared in the Supreme Court on Tuesday 20 October, 2020.

She has not entered a plea because the charges against her have not yet been finalised by prosecution. 

The matter was adjourned to give the prosecution time to finalise the charges against Lagiselota.

She will next appear in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, 3 November, 2020.

Lagiselota’s is the third (known) incident of baby dumping to take place in the last two years.

In September 2019, the body of a dead newborn baby girl was dumped next to a trash bin at the Mulifanua wharf.

The 22-year-old mother, Afioa’e Sale from Sapapali’i, Savai’i, was charged with concealing the dead body of a baby.

Sale pleaded guilty to the charge in the District Court in December of last year.

The court ordered that no photographs be taken of Sale after the backlash she received from the public. 

A month prior to the Mulifanua incident, in August 2019, the dead body of a baby boy was found floating on the ocean at Lauli’i. 

No one was charged over that incident.

The Vailuutai baby girl was discovered in mid-September.

At the time, Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil told the Samoa Observer that Lagiselota hid her pregnancy prior to the incident.

Fuiavailili took the time to remind the public that baby dumping “is not an option.”

“It’s hard to put myself in her position but there are resources and options available,” the Commissioner told the Observer.

“There are people out there wanting babies. Bring them to the fire station, to the police, to the hospital.”






Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?