Fagaloa accused denies two murder charges

A man accused of murdering another male from the village of Lona Fagaloa has pleaded not guilty to two murder charges. 

Defendant Solomua Paisu Tafili of Lona Fagaloa entered a not guilty plea to the charges when appearing before the Supreme Court for mention on Monday.

The first charge alleges that Solomua committed murder on 1 January through an unlawful act, namely by causing the death of Ioapo Tavae Lavatai of Lona Fagaloa by stabbing. 

He is also alleged to have committed murder on the same victim by an unlawful act namely assault and thereby caused the death of the deceased. 

There is also a charge of being armed with a dangerous weapon namely a kitchen knife that he is facing and he is represented by defence lawyer Ann Matalasi.

Prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Office, Fuifui Ioane said prosecution will proceed with the three final charges and withdraw one of the other charges.

Ms. Matalasi said the defendant enters a not guilty plea to the remaining charges. 

Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma noted the plea and adjourned the matter to 1 November for hearing. 

Solomua was released on bail two weeks since he was remanded in custody on New Year’s day. The prosecution did not oppose his bail application. 

The defendant was released on the condition that he surrender all travel documents and sign at the police station. 

The accused was also instructed to reside at Vaivase uta and refrain from setting foot in Lona Fagaloa where the alleged offending occurred.

Following the alleged offence on New Year ’s Day the Police went out on a search to find Solomua who was on the run.

The deceased in the matter is a 24-year-old male of Lona Fagaloa who is suspected to have been drinking with the accused.

The incident was one of four deaths over the festive season in early January. A separate matter involving a double murder incident at Afega also led to the death of two other men. The fourth case involves a toddler from Afega who allegedly died from drowning. 

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