The truth about Mr. Tauili’ili’s death will be told

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 08 December 2018, 12:00AM

The death of Jeremiah Malaki Tauili’ili is tragic. Every time a precious life is lost, regardless of the circumstances, it pains very deeply. 

Why? We believe that one life lost is one too many. Which is the tragedy of Mr. Tauiliili’s death. At 24 years young, a promising Civil Engineer career at the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure and a child to raise; he had his whole future ahead of him. 

But all that changed on Friday night, two weeks ago, when he was at the Edge Bar on the Marina at Matautu Wharf. What transpired that night, and what led to him being hospitalised—where he eventually died—we don’t know. 

According to Police officers though, Mr. Tauiliili was involved in a fight where he was allegedly knocked out. The Fire Emergency Services Authority was called and he was taken to the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital.

 Mr. Tauiliili later slipped into a coma and his condition deteriorated before he passed away on Wednesday. At this point, we want to offer our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Tauiliili. We cannot imagine the pain and suffering they are going through, but we pray that the comforting spirit of God will help them, during this difficult time.

Since the news of his passing, there have been many stories making the rounds in the cyber realm. We are not going to talk about them here. Suffice to say some of them are interesting, some colourful while others are malicious and ridiculous. 

But those are the dynamics in this free world we live in today, where social media has given people the freedom to say whatever, whenever, wherever. 

We don’t want to dwell on that. What’s important is to find out the truth about that happened to Mr. Tauili’ili. Like everyone else, at this newspaper we want the people responsible for his death to be found, their motives uncovered and that they are held accountable. 

In other words, we want the truth, nothing but the truth. In the pursuit of the truth though, especially in relation to a criminal matter, there are processes to follow and laws that must be observed for everyone—even in the performance of our role in reporting the news. 

People are innocent until they are proven guilty and we must allow justice to take its natural course.

The facts are Mr. Tauiliili is dead. As of yesterday, the Police had arrested and charged three men.

On the front page of your newspaper today, these men are identified along with what charges they face. Whereas Robert Ash faces an assault charge in relation to a separate  incident in the lead up, Herman Westerlund and Suapaina Savai’inaea are charged with manslaughter. 

They are scheduled to appear in Court on Monday 17 December and Tuesday 18 December 2018 where a date will be set for the hearings.

In the meantime, the Police Commissioner, Fuiava Egon Keil, has assured the public that they will do “what is necessary” to get to the bottom of it.

 “When we are done with the investigation, we will do what is necessary,” Fuiava said. “The investigation dictates what we do, so when the investigation is completed, we will act appropriately.”

Well that’s reassuring amidst everything that has been happening. So let’s wait and see.

Lastly, let me say something about the Samoa Observer, since we too have copped a lot of flak—including threats to our lives and properties—over this incident. 

The truth is that one of our colleagues, Mr.  Ash, been implicated in the Police investigation. 

On the paper you are reading, Mr. Ash and Mr. Westerlund’s photos are on the front page with the story. We were not able to find a photo of Mr. Savai’inaea last night but when we do, we will publish his too. 

We want you to know we have absolutely nothing to hide. 

It’s just that unlike those gutless faceless ghosts, who attack people with such malicious allegations while hiding behind their keyboards, we have rules to follow.

As responsible citizens of Samoa, we are accountable to the rule of law. We respect it too – including the work of the Police, the legal profession and the Judiciary.

Let me assure you this again, our dear readers, we are here to tell the truth. 

And we will do that within the confines of the law - including finding out what happened to Mr. Tauiliili and how he died. 

That is our promise and we will not shy away from it— even when it involves our own people. 

We have been doing this for years, even when it comes to our families – and the few friends that have been daring enough to stand by us—and we will continue to do it as long as we are in this business. No matter what. 

Today, let’s think about peace, compassion and love, not hate, anger and bitterness. Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 08 December 2018, 12:00AM

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