21 May 2019 Apia Samoa. In Samoa’s latest case of domestic violence, commercial farmer Peter Tulaga has been found guilty of attempting to murder his 34 year old partner, Frysna Rimoni at his mother’s home at Vailoa in January this year.
The verdict was handed down by a panel of assessors before Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren late this afternoon, following a 6-day trial that started on Tuesday last week.
The panel of assessors, at times visibly emotionally affected by the intensity of the evidence, found Peter Tulaga guilty of all three charges brought against him; attempted murder, armed with a dangerous weapon and possession of an unregistered firearm.
Earlier this week, Tulaga denied all charges and testified that his partner had tried to commit suicide, and that the gun had fired accidentally when he tried to remove it from her.
The Court heard that following the shooting, Tulaga left the scene of the crime and instructed his siblings to take Frysna to the hospital.
Peter Tulaga’s brother, Reverend Petelo Tulaga testified that he had carried Frysna out of the house on the day of the incident.
The Reverand had given a graphic account of what he had seen, telling the Court that the lower part of the victim’s face had been removed and her teeth lay on his arm as he carried her out of the room.
“My whole body felt the shock of what was before me.”
“Sa ou si’i ina mai i fafo le tamaitai lea ua a’afia ma ou vaaia ai ua leai uma le itu pito i lalo o ona foliga.
“I le taimi na ou siia mai ai ae o lo’o fa’apea ona ta’atia ona tainifo i luga o lo’u ogalima.
“O le taimi lea, ua ou fa’alogo atu, ua pei ua meia uma lo’u tino ona o le tulaga lea.”
Prosecution witnesses included Police Commissioner Su’a Fuiavailili Egon Keil who told the Court that on the night of the incident defendant Peter Tulaga admitted to him over a phone call that he had killed his wife, “I shot her on the head and mouth”.
Commissioner Keil told the Court that his exact words were: “Ga ou kago faga lo’u ko’alua, ga ou kago fasioki. Ga ou kago faga le ulu ma le guku.”
The head of the Tactical Operation Station responsible for the registration of firearms in Samoa had also given evidence, and told the Court that the shotgun recovered from the place of the incident was not registered.