Two charged with murder over Christmas Eve beating
Two men are facing murder charges after a 35-year-old man was allegedly brutally beaten in Vaimea on Christmas Eve.
The alleged victim was pronounced dead in hospital several hours after being admitted for medical treatment following an alleged fight.
“He was badly beaten and alcohol is a factor," said the Commissioner of Police, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil.
"[It is] really sad this happened.
“A fight broke out and this man was assaulted by [...18-year-old] and [22-year old] men. This is a result of consuming too much alcohol but that is not an excuse. The men are each charged with murder".
Fuiavaili’ili said the men have been in Police custody since Christmas Day and will be transferred to Tanumalala Prison to await their appearance for criminal mention in the Supreme Court.
Under the law, the men, if convicted of the charges, will face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The Commissioner said he hopes the episode will be the end of alcohol-related violence in Samoa.
“One must consume alcohol responsibly otherwise this is the [consequence] and we cannot continue down this road: drinking until you are no longer in charge of your actions,” he said.
The Commissioner cautioned that while alcohol can be enjoyed, some members of the community are not consuming it responsibly, and in a fashion that is leading to crime and violence.
“I am certain the matter in Vaimea could have been settled with a conversation and mitigation; there was no need for someone to die; but when [drinking] alcohol is out of control this is what happens,” he said.
Fuiavaili’ili declined to comment further, noting that the investigation into the incident is still ongoing.
He said this is the first death reported since the Police's festive season operation started on December 23 and he hopes this will be the last.