Two men who pleaded guilty to kidnapping have been sentenced to 14 months in jail. Iopu Taimalie and Iapesa Elisara were initially charged with murder, in relation to an incident that occurred in 2018.
However, the charge was reduced to kidnapping in March after the prosecution informed the court there was not enough evidence to proceed with the murder charge.
Sentencing, in this case, was handed down by Supreme Court Justice, Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala Warren.
According to the prosecution summary of facts, the victim caught a taxi to Lauli’i.
When the taxi arrived to Lauli’i the victim walked away without paying the taxi fare.
The accused and a relative chased after the victim, while the taxi followed, driving slowly to shine his car lights at the chase.
The victim was captured and placed in the boot upon instruction from the taxi driver, who proceeded to take the victim to the Police Station.
The driver picked up a passenger along the way and the passenger heard banging and movements from the boot which ceased by the time the taxi got to the main road.
When they arrived at the Police Station in Apia they opened the boot and Police officers confirmed that the victim was deceased.
The attending doctor declared the victim dead upon arrival at the hospital at 2000 hours on the same day. The cause of death in the pathologist’s report is blunt force head injury.
The two men told Probation that they were involved in a fistfight with the victim. It is aggravating that they ganged up on the victim.
“This offending was cruel in that the accused put the victim into the boot of the taxi, a confined space for the duration of the trip from inland Laulii to Apia Police Station, a trip which would easily be longer than 30 minutes.”