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Charges withdrawn for two accused of murder

Two men, who were among six defendants charged with murder in connection with the death of a man in Lepea in 2018, have had the charges withdrawn.

The matter came before the Supreme Court on Monday morning with the Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Sativa Perese, presiding during criminal mention.

The prosecution counsel Fuifui Ioane, who appeared for criminal mention on Monday, told the court that the murder charges will be withdrawn in relation to the defendants Kuka Foai and Winston Reupena.

The other defendants are: Rapi Foai, Kolose Foai, Iliafi Tanu and Tuiuli Saofaiga. 

The Chief Justice and the defence counsel for Foai, Leaitaualesa Komisi Koria, wanted to have the matter proceed.

“I see no reason why the matter can’t be dealt with today,” Leitaualesa told the court.

But Ioane told the court that the case is being handled by another prosecutor, Lucymaria Sio Ofoia, who was attending the Court of Appeals hearing when the criminal mention proceedings got underway.

However, Chief Justice Satiu told the prosecution that it was “unsatisfactory” to have the court adjourn the matter as a trial date should be allocated and confirmed.

Ioane asked the court for five days but the Chief Justice said he would set the hearing for submissions to be made on the withdrawal of the murder charge for Tuesday 4 August at 10am.

A trial has been scheduled for 24 August, 2020 before Supreme Court Justice Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma.

The six defendants are accused of beating a man to death with rocks in Lepea in 2018 [not in Manono as previously reported]. 

In a previous court proceeding, prosecutor Magele Leone Sua Mailo from the Attorney General’s Office told the court that the murder trial is being delayed due to the prosecution witnesses being stranded in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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