Chief Justice Patu has reserved his decision on whether the husband of the late Sa’u Justina Sa’u should be granted bail or not to next week Tuesday following submissions submitted by both prosecution and defense counsel this morning.
The Supreme Court was crowded with families, friends and relatives of both the deceased and the accused Kolani Junior Lam as they listen to both counsels giving reasons on why he should or should not be granted bail.
Leiataualesa Komisi Koria took the stand first to addressing the court on why Chief Justice should consider granting bail to his client.
One of the reasons Leiataualesa put forward was that his client does not have any previous conviction and he also does not have a history of breaching his bail conditions or court orders if the court was to grant him bail.
He told the court prosecution has to prove three elements in order for bail to be denied.
He pointed out to the court the three reasons that prosecution had submitted on why they are opposing bail for his client.
The three reasons are, that the defendant might be tampering or interfere with their witnesses, there is a risk the defendant will not appear if he was granted bail and lastly the defendant might reoffend while on bail.
These reasons Leiuataualesa told the court the prosecution needs to prove these in order for the court to deny bail for his client.
On the reason of whether his client may reoffend while on bail, Leiataualesa assured the court that this will not happen because his client does not have any previous convictions and that he is a first offender. His client does not have a history of breaching court orders.
Ms. Mailo on the other hand told the court prosecution will be focusing on two main points and they are the defendant will tamper and interfere with their witnesses and whether there is unjust reason for the defendant to be detained.
She went on to say the prosecution does not need to prove all three points made by defense counsel however, if by any chance prosecution finds that one of the risk is real and submittable then the court ought to deny the application for bail.
The main witnesses which we referred to that are at risk of being interfere and tamper with and the witnesses are Talei who is the daughter of the deceased and Meaalii Tafā who is the babysitter of the deceased and the applicant’s children, Sofia Faasamoa who is the deceased mother, Troy Lam who is the son of the applicant.
“I submit that there is evidence that the court ought to consider and deny the application for bail,” she told the court.
“The affidavit made by Talei fearing from the defendant she has gone as far as putting up chimes in her room in order to protect herself that ensure that everyone that comes into her room that she would be aware of that.
She also hides a knife under her pillow to protect.
“I refer to the witness Meaalii Tafa:
“The applicant’s in his affidavit dated on the 23rd conceded that he had contacted Meaalii and stated that it was only on the wellbeing of his children.
“Prosecution submits that there is sufficient evidence to the contrary.”
The court heard the applicant has clearly attempted to contact Mealii several times since after the alleged incident in an attempt to toy with
“Meaalii in both her affidavits maintains that the applicant on the 27th of October while she was with the police had told her what to say to police about a rope. That is he said, if they ask then tell them that she does not know anything.”
The court also heard the applicant sent a letter to the witness Meaalii on the 14th November which was also read inside the open courtroom:
“Ou te talosaga atu ia te oe pe mafai ae a ou tu i luma o le fa’amasinoga ia e tumau pea i lau fa’amatalaga na ave i leoleo ona o i latou na tuuaia au na latou au i tafaigata ona o le fasioti tagata faamoemoeina.
Faamolemole aua e te toe faia faamatalaga lea ona o loo taumafai lava le tiapolo e molia pea au.”
The letter according to the prosecution was accompanied by a $100.
Ms. Mailo during her submission argued that it is clear from the wording of the applicant’s letter he is telling Meaalii what to do an attempted to influence her evidence.
“The fact that this letter was accompanied with a $100 is further evidence that the applicant intent to influence Meaalii’s evidence because there was absolutely no reason for him to give the money,” the court heard.
The court also heard that in the applicant’s second affidavit he explain that the $100 was meant for Meaalii and his children.
However, in Meaalii’s affidavit she expressed that there was no reason for the applicant to give her money as he was aware that Sofia was paying for her looking after his children as well as financing all of their children’s expenses and this the only reason that can be drawn from this is that “o lo’o taumafai Junior ou te tu mo ia.”
Furthermore prosecution revealed that in the applicant’s affidavit he stated that his intention of contacting Meaalii thus far was over his genuine concern for the wellbeing of his children.
“However these words by the applicant contradict paragraph 12 of the same affidavit where he admits that his intention of writing the letter was to ensure that Meaalii does not change her story and is not influence by others,” said Ms. Mailo.
“In this obvious contradiction in the applicant’s affidavit makes his sworn affidavit highly questionable and thus warrant the prosecution’s contention that prosecution witness particularly Meaalii’s evidence should be heard.
“Prosecution therefore submits that the ultimate question for the court to consider whether the prosecution has enough evidence before the court that there is a real and significant risk that exist that the applicant will tamper with the witnesses if he was to be granted bail.
“Prosecution has assurance that the applicant will want to alleviate the risk that now exist, the risk is now real and significant after the defendant have been selected to Meaalii as well as in his affidavit conceded that he had tried to tell her what to say to the police.
“From these facts it can unequivocally be concluded that a risk has been establish and no assurance from the applicant can remove about this.”
Lastly, prosecution told the court that there no unjust detainment.
“Considering the notable risk of interfering with witness prosecution submits that it would not be unjust for the applicant to continue to be detained as the safety of the witnesses and integrity of their evidence needs to be protected and be of paramount concern.
“Whilst the defendant will be detained he will not be deprive of his right to counsel and his right to have a fair and public hearing remain for the reasonable time.
This is because counsel for the applicant can access him at prison facilities and prison can also facilitate any request that he makes.
“He has been detained at Tafaigata for almost three weeks now pending the bail hearing and Ill bate on this fact that he has not been prevented nor affected his ability to contact his counsel and give instructions for this bail hearing.
“There is also concerns of his health and mental wellbeing arose but prosecution submits that the court should not pay any regard to these as there is no medical evidence to support it and plus the applicant himself makes no reference to such concerns in both his affidavits.”