Mental patient jailed for manslaughter

Talalelei Fa’aulufalega (right) escorted by a police officer after he was sentenced

By Maria Uaita

APIA: WEDNESDAY 08 APRIL 2015: A 23 year old mental patient Talalelei Fa’aulufalega who was charged with manslaughter was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by Justice Vui Clarence Nelson this afternoon.

“It’s often said that sentencing a criminal case perhaps is a more challenging single act of a judge,” said Justice Nelson.

“To sentence a mentally inferred or charged offender is a significant layer of a decision to pass,” he said in passing sentence.

According to the police report, the defendant was instructed by his parents to boil some water to make noodles for dinner.

The defendant tossed a bowl of hot water on to his 9 year old step sister, Florina Galumalemana when she came in the kitchen and she teased him.

The incident happened at Puipa’a 04 January 2015.

The victim was not admitted to the hospital after the incident but she was referred to a traditional healer where crushed bamboo leaves mixed with Samoan oil was applied to her injuries.

10 days after the incident, the victim passed away unexpectedly in bed while she was with her mother.

“Some blame for the death can be attributed to the family’s failure to ensure prompt and adequate medical treatment for the victim,” said Justice Vui.

“Some blame can also be attributed to the traditional healer,” he explained.

Court accepts the fact that the defendant has mental issues and that he was provoked to anger by the victim.

“However, the defendant will not escape jail from his action that resulted in the termination of a young life,” ruled Justice Vui.

Talalelei Fa’aulufalega has special features to his sentence.

The officers at Tafaigata prison will be responsible to ensure his medication continues and his periodical review at the Mental Health Unit.

Justice Vui closed the case between police and Talalelei Fa’aulufalega but referred the death of the victim, Florina Galumalemana to the Coroner.

The court is questioning why the family did not seek any medical treatment for the victim and also why the owner of the morgue that the victim was brought after she passed away did not get any medical practitioner to investigate the bruises on her body.

The victim is the defendants’ second cousin and was adopted by the defendants’ parents in 2012.

The coroner Judge Vaepule Va’ai will preside on the matter Tuesday 14 April 2015.

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