06 November 2020, Apia Samoa. Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren has highlighted the dangers of a locally produced vodka, calling for authorities to take tighter controls and raise public awareness of its impacts.
In handing down the sentence of four youth for causing the death of a 38 year old father after a drinking session at Samalaeulu, Justice Tafaoimalo reiterated recent concerns raised by Samoa’s Police Commissioner on the role locally produced vodka plays in the commission of crimes.
“The unnecessary loss of life in this case is tragic and incalculable. The loss of liberty for these four young defendants is tragic for their respective families,” said Justice Tuala-Warren.
“This case brings to the fore yet again the dangers of excess alcohol consumption of locally produced Rover vodka for which there is insufficient public awareness;
“The relevant authorities are encouraged to address the issue of locally produced vodka as it has featured largely in offending behavior which has come before the Courts”, added Tafaoimalo.
The Supreme Court will continue to hear cases involving locally produced vodka as there have been multiple incidents in recent months, including deaths over White Sunday and Fathers Day weekend, as well as a bushknife attack this week.
On White Sunday weekend three youth were arrested and charged with murder after a Fasitoo-Uta man was beaten to death. Police Commissioner Keil told Samoa Global News that locally made vodka was involved;
“This time we identified two types of locally made vodka from preliminary investigations”,
Two months ago during Father’s Day long weekend, a 40 year old man was killed after being allegedly run down by another man following a drinking session where the Commissioner had also highlighted locally produced vodka.
Su’a Fuiavailiili had observed back in August, “They were in a friendly drinking session prior to the incident, and a locally produced vodka type drink was consumed by the suspect prior to the incident”.
And again this week as reported by Samoa Global News, a man in his 20’s was viciously attacked with a bushknife after a drinking session at Faleasiu. He is fighting for his life at the Motootua National Hospital and Police Commissioner Keil once again stressed that a locally produced vodka was found at the scene of the crime.
Close inspection of two types of locally produced vodka bottles showed very basic labeling, and no mention of product content or percentage of alcohol volume contained within.