One judge murder trial application postponed to April

PHOTO: Samoa’s Court House, Mulinu’u

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2019: Legal arguments over whether to accept an application to have one judge preside over the trial of Kolagi Junior Lam for murder has been postponed to 12 April.

The accused is the husband of the late former Chief Executive Officer of the Unit Trust of Samoa, Sa’u Justina Sa’u.

In court yesterday the Attorney General and leading prosecutor, Lemalu Herman Retzlaff disputed the argument by the defence counsel Komisi Koria.

The defence’s argument is that in the “interest of justice” the application must be granted based on Section 6 and Section 125 of the Criminal Procedures Act 2013.

The Prosecution fundamentally disagreed referring to the defence counsel’s argument “as narrow vision.”

Lemalu said both Sections 6 and 125 of the Criminal Procedures Act 2013 goes together in its wording.

“The wordings accordingly says the defendant is charged with an offence punishable by life imprisonment is to be tried by a Judge sitting with five (5) assessors.

“It further states that a person who commits murder shall upon conviction, be sentenced to imprisonment for life.”

Presiding Judge Tafaoimalo Leilani Warren then adjourned the matter to the 12th of April for her ruling. The defendant continues to be remanded in custody.

The prosecution is calling more than 20 witnesses.

Lam is facing a murder charge with alternative charges of manslaughter, common assault in relation to his step daughter, possession of narcotics and conspiracy to defeat the cause of justice.