Court denies application for judge without assessors to hear murder trial

Samoa’s Court House, Mulinu’u

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 27 MARCH 2019: The Supreme Court Judge, Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala – Warren has denied the application to have one judge preside over the murder trial of Kolani Junior Lam Sam, accused of murdering his wife,  Sa’u Justina  Sa’u Lam.

The application is for the case to be presided by one judge without the assessors. The accused has entered a not guilty plea.

Judge Warren ruled, “the application for this trial to be heard before the Judge alone is declined.  It will be heard by a judge sitting with assessors.”

The ruling applies to charges of murder with an alternative, manslaughter; assault and conspiring to defeat justice.

“On the propensity evidence application of the previous alleged results of the deceased by the accused, I make the order that, that evidence is admissible as relevant background evidence of the relationship between the accused and deceased.”

The ruling further stated that “on the severance applications, I order severance of the charge of the possession and use of narcotics, the accused will be tried separately on the narcotics charge. And pursuant to section 6 (4) CPA, it will be tried by a judge alone.”

Justice Warren makes a further order on prohibiting publication of her ruling except the result in news media or on the internet or other public available data base, until final deposition of trial.

The matter is adjourned next week, for the court to set a hearing date.