Man jailed in traffic accident, where one man died and two suffered severe injuries


Falaniko Seumanu has been sentenced to two years and 11 months in relation to one count of negligent driving causing death and two charges of negligent driving causing injuries. 

Sentencing was handed down recently by Supreme Court Justice Nia’ava Mata Keli Tuatagaloa. According to the judgement the incident occurred on 10 March 2021 and that there are three victims of this offence. 

“The deceased, Tomasone Ama Soesa, a 45-year-old male; Ianuario Ieremia, 40 years of age and Pope Junior Soesa, 25 years old both sustained serious injuries.

“The Victim Impact Reports state that Ianuario is said to have suffered a serious injury to his back (gau aano le patua), lacerations and abrasions to his hands. Ianuario said that he was immobile for two months due to the injuries to his back. To date, he has fully recovered and is back to work.

“Pope Junior suffered a back injury and lacerations and abrasions to his hands. Pope said that for three months his back was sore and underwent Samoan massage for about three months. To date, he has fully recovered.

“The deceased is the youngest of his family. His three older siblings who live overseas in a combined Victim Impact Report refer to the pain of losing their youngest brother, his life wasted and how much they miss him.” 

Her honours pointed out the aggravating features of Seumanu’s offending, is that alcohol was a contributing factor; he was driving when under the influence of alcohol; the number of victims and the harm caused by his offending including the nature of the injuries suffered by two of the surviving victims and the extended period of time needed to recover from the injuries sustained; and speeding as the vehicle rolled because the defendant could not control it.

Justice Tuatagaloa pointed out there have been too many lives lost in car accidents where alcohol and speeding are involved.

“This is one of them. In this case, the defendant clearly did not heed the call by his passengers who became the victims to slow down.

“In the present case, the defendant was said to have consumed vodka (fagu Maso). He was obviously intoxicated but still got behind the wheel.

“The defendant should never have driven that night after drinking alcohol and should never have agreed to give the others a lift home. “Like so many who decide to drive when they believe they are not that drunk, the defendant had probably thought that he would never get into an accident.”

Furthermore, her honours pointed out that “life is precious and to save lives the Court will not shy away from imposing appropriate sentences as a measure of deterrence for those who drink and drive. 

“The consequences of making such a decision while under the influence of alcohol are usually fatal.

“On the charge of negligent driving causing death, Seumanu was convicted and sentenced to 2 years and 11 months imprisonment; on two charges of negligent driving causing injury a 12 months imprisonment for each charge.

“The imprisonment terms are to be served concurrently less any time remanded in custody.The defendant is also disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s license for a period of 4 years.”