Man jailed for four years for manslaughter

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By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu, 11 October 2018

A man has been found guilty of manslaughter and given a custodial sentence of four years four months, following the death of a 22-year-old male of Safotu. 

Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Darryl Clarke handed down the ruling recently when convicting 30-year-old Luma Pesefa.

According to the amended summary of facts, in January last year the defendant attended a concert at a bar at Safotu, Savai’i. The deceased attended the same concert where he became heavily intoxicated and got into an argument with the defendant. 

“As a result, a scuffle ensued between the two of you, who fell off the deck and onto the ground where rocks and empty beer bottles are scattered. You managed to get on top of the deceased, you grabbed a rock lying on the ground and then hit the deceased’s head with the rock,” said Justice Leiataualesa.

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The Court heard that the deceased was pronounced dead on arrival at Safotu District Hospital. A post mortem was carried out and the cause of death was noted as head injuries on the right side of the head caused by a “blunt force”. 

Justice Leiataualesa acknowledged that the defendant of Lefagaoalii and Foailuga was also penalised by the two villages and performed a traditional apology by presenting the two villages with sows, cattle and boxes of tinned fish. Despite the apologies the defendant has been banned by the two villages. 

But the family of the deceased has expressed disappointment with the apology, as it was extended to the villages and not with their immediate family, in accordance with custom.

Justice Leiataualesa said manslaughter is a tragedy for many people affected by the offense. 

“For the deceased, he has lost his life on a Saturday night out – meant no doubt to be an enjoyable social evening or his family, they have lost a loved son who they relied on and for everyone that has lost a loved family member, that feeling of loss is one many are aware of. In this case, however, it is a loss resulting from a violent death and one sadly that was avoidable.” 

The defendant’s family, particularly the wife and his young daughter also suffered according to the Judge. He also noted that alcohol fueled violence, resulting in death, is common in the community.

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By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu, 11 October 2018

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