Man jailed for death of nephew

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A man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in relation to the death of his nephew has been sentenced to five years and six months in jail.

The incident occurred in Gataivai last year.

Sentencing for Afele Tiatia was handed down by Supreme Court Justice, Leiataualesa Darryl Clarke.

During sentencing, Justice Clarke pointed out that sentencing the defendant to appear for sentence on one charge of manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of up to life imprisonment.

The amended summary of facts, which was accepted by the defendant states that on 1st August 2021, the victim a 14-year-old nephew of the defendant swore at his grandmother, the defendant’s mother.

This upset the defendant who then slapped the victim and he ran off. The defendant chased after him and threw firewood hitting the victim on the back of his head.

The victim died a few days later, he suffered a severe head injury,  extradural bleeding with severe traumatic brain injury (intracranial bleeding).

Justice Clarke noted the aggravating feature is the use of firewood as a weapon, which was thrown towards the back of your nephew’s head.

After sentencing was handed down, Justice Clarke pointed out the victim died on the 4th of August 2021, and his death was over 9 months ago, his body has not been released to his family for burial due to a Pathologist not having been engaged to come to Samoa to perform post-mortems over an extended period of time.

“Having suffered the loss of their child and the immense grief that flows from that loss, being unable to lay Mose to rest draws out the grieving process and exacerbates the pain and loss felt by loved ones left behind.

“Serious concerns with the extended absence of pathologist services in-country has been raised by Judge Papali’i in her capacity as Coroner on a number of occasions. Similarly, concerns have also been raised by Senior Justice Nelson.

“This unsatisfactory state of affairs was also raised in these proceedings with counsel for the Office of the Attorney General.

“Counsel has assured this Court that a Pathologist would be in-country by the end of May and that this state of affairs is now remedied with a long-term solution in place to avoid its continuation.

“The advice is welcomed and the Courts look forward to post-mortems now being carried out in a timely manner.”