Va’afusuaga jailed in driving causing the death case


Benjamin Faafetai Va’afusuaga of Fugalei and Faga Savaii has been sentenced to four years in jail, in relation to negligence driving, causing the death of Nili Faauma. Sentencing was handed down by Senior Justice Vui Clarence Nelson last week. 

According to the judgment and sentence, the defendant pleaded guilty. The Police Report states that in Taufusi on 21 August 2021, the defendant was driving negligently on Vaea Street in Apia and thereby caused the death of Faauma, 27-year-old of Fugalei, and Sataoa Safata.

The court also cited the Coroner finding that Faauma died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle. Also, it was confirmed that alcohol played a significant role in this accident.

The undisputed Police summary of facts states that the Samoa Water Authority employed the defendant at the time of the accident. The defendant and the deceased were traveling on Vaea Street and before the accident, they had both been out drinking alcohol with friends.

His Honours alluded to the maximum penalty for negligent driving causing death was increased in 2020 by Parliament from a maximum of 5 years to 10 years imprisonment and for fines from $2,000.00 to $25,000.00.

This is a recognition by Parliament of the seriousness of such offending because it has resulted in the loss of human life.

“It is also an indication of the concern of the Parliament of this country about the rising number of these kinds of cases coming before the court. A problem shared by the courts resulted in a substantial policy that little leniency is extended to people who come before the court on cases of drunken driving causing death.

Considering all the relevant factors and the need to continue demonstrating to the public how seriously the law regards this type of offending, the need for deterrence trumps all other considerations.