Witness tells of gruesome beating
A woman who worked at JP’s Sports Bar has told the Court of the gruesome assault that led to the death of 44-year-old Misa Vailigi Rarotoga of Vaimea last July.
Shirley Ah Man was giving evidence yesterday when the trial of PJ Tupuola Puni and Max Alefosio continued before Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke. The men have pleaded not guilty murder.
Puni is represented by lawyer, Diana Roma while Max Alefosio is represented by Lei’ataua Jerry Brunt. Leone Su’a-Mailo is prosecuting.
“I remember on the night of the incident me and one of my colleagues who was working Tiniresa Seiuli came outside to wait for our ride,” she said.
“We waited outside our cover charge room and then one of the defendants, PJ, walked up to us asking for some money and I told him that we don’t have any money.
“At that time I heard someone screaming but I didn’t see who it was so PJ ran to where the voice was coming from and I then I said to Tiniresa, “Kalofa e si kamaikiki lae e e mai,”
“But Tiniresa said it’s not a kid it was Misa (deceased).
“We were sitting in front of the cover charge room at the first gate of JPs clearly facing where the incident occurred.
“At that time Tiniresa and I stood up and walked towards Gate 2 of JPs and I saw PJ, Max and two other guys beating up Dan (Tanielu Tupuola) Misa’s friend but I didn’t see Misa at that time and don’t know whether he was there or not.
“When we got to Gate 2, we stopped there and that’s when I saw one of the people that was in a white shirt punch Dan and he fell. That gave him (Dan) the chance to escape.
“We continued walking and when we got closer to where the fight occurred, then I heard PJ say “Fasi loa le alii lea ga mafua ai le vevesi.”
“That’s when I saw PJ and Max stomping and kicking Misa on the head as well as his whole body while he was lying unconsciously on the ground.
“PJ and Max used their feet to kick and stomped on Misa. I couldn’t count how many kicks but all I know is that they were kicking and stomping his head and his body while he was lying on the ground.”
Su’a then asked the witness if she knows Max and she said yes.
“He is one of our clients at the bar and I have seen him at the bar about four times,” said Ms. Ah man.
Su’a then asked the witness if she had said something to the defendants when she saw what they were doing to the deceased. The witness answered yes.
“As I got closer to where Max and PJ were, I called out to PJ “that’s enough” (ua lava lega) however, PJ didn’t listen,” said Ms. Ah Man.
“I told him that because I saw Misa was not moving and his face was all covered with blood.
“After Max and PJ’s kicking and stomping PJ then ran away but Max was still there so me and Tenerisa walked towards where Misa’s body was.
“When we got there Misa was lying on his side but I couldn’t see his face as it was covered with blood, so I took his shirt that was on his left arm and I wrapped his head with it.
“But the blood was covering his face and then Dan and some other man arrived and then a vehicle came and took Misa to the hospital.”
During cross-examination, Ms. Roma disputed the witness’s testimony when she told the Court that she told PJ to stop.
“During your statement with the police did you tell them that you told PJ “that’s enough,” Ms. Roma asked.
“No, I didn’t tell the police,” said the witness.
“So is it true if I say that you didn’t tell PJ what you told the Court but instead that’s what you wanted to tell him on the night but you didn’t?”
“Your Honor, I did tell PJ what I said in Court but at the time I forgot to tell the police during my statement,” the witness responded.
The hearing continues.