The wife and children of a Vaiusu man killed during Father’s Day in August last year are finally able to take his body from the Motootua Hospital mortuary and lay him to rest.
Ata Mika was killed last year on the Father’s Day public holiday when an outing went wrong, and his own work colleague he’d been drinking with ran him down in a dyna truck at Nuu, near Vaitele.
At the time, Police Commissioner Su’a Fuiavailiili Egon Keil said they had charged a man, “who allegedly drove over another man intentionally..”
Ata Mika’s body can now be released for burial after a Court ruling by Acting Chief Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa yesterday afternoon.
Justice Tuatagaloa made an order for Ata Mika’s body to be released for burial, given that the accused, Mr Lino Lino, has died since Court proceedings began.
Mr Lino Lino who was out on bail awaiting his court hearing is suspected to have committed suicide.
Aware that her husband’s alleged killer had died, Mrs Pelea Fagavale Ata had taken to social media with a video last month, asking that she be granted permission to take her husband’s body home for burial.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Auapaau Logoitino Filipo confirmed there are currently over 20 bodies at the Motootua Hospital mortuary awaiting autopsies which have not been possible since Samoa’s borders closed off a year ago to protect the country from the coronavirus pandemic.
All incidents of suspicious deaths or those involving police investigations that require post mortems to be performed, have been blocked because Samoa relies on visiting coroners from New Zealand and Australia for this specialised procedure.
Last week, Government confirmed that a coroner has been arranged, and will soon be in Samoa to perform the necessary post mortems, and enable related criminal cases to proceed.