Woman pleads guilty over infant's death

A woman who was charged with the death of her 12-month-old infant has changed her plea and now says she is guilty of the charge of manslaughter.

The defendant whose name has been suppressed by the Supreme Court to protect her deceased baby’s identity, changed her plea when the matter was called for a hearing before Justice Vui Clarence Nelson on Monday.

Through her lawyer Charlie Vaai she has now pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter in connection to the death of her 12-month-old infant in 2019. 

The woman was initially facing charges of manslaughter, failing to provide necessities of life and being armed with a dangerous object as well as assault. 

But Attorney General’s Office lawyer, Lucy Sio Ofoia said the prosecution is withdrawing the other charges except for manslaughter in light of the guilty plea entered by the defendant. 

According to the police summary of facts, on 29 May 2019 the defendant of Savai’i caused the death of her 12-month-old son by using her hands, and therefore committed the crime of manslaughter.

Since she was charged in 2019, the court had ordered her to reside in Gataivai Savai’i away from her three other children, which included a 2-week-old baby at the time.

Justice Vui had asked the defendant if she was residing with her children.

In response, the mother said her children are residing with her husband in another village in Savai’i. 

The Justice said the order from the court was entirely appropriate to protect the children from the defendant “who has issues looking after her children” and had allegedly killed a child.

The matter was adjourned to 15 March 2021 for a pre-sentencing report from the probation office. 
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