The woman who was employed to baby sit for Kolani Jr. Lam and his CEO wife, the late Sa’u Justina Sa’u, told the court of a violent home environment for the couple.
Meaali’i Tala Tualagi, looked after the couple’s children since 2017 and also lived in with the family.
She took the witness stand and testified that most of the arguments between Lam and Sa’u was either to do with the children or the husband’s ex-wife Aiva.
She said Lam enjoys his drink and would persuade his wife to drink with him.
The court heard that Sa’u is abused by Lam almost every day. Most of the time it happens when they had drinks with the family grounds man Sio at their Sinamoga home.
Tualagi testified that Lam or ‘Kiuga’ as he is called at home would drink with Sio every night and Sa’u or ‘Pa’i’ as she is known in the family would join them.
“In all those times Kiuga would beat up Pa’i,” Tualagi said.
Tualagi started her testimony on Monday and continued over to yesterday, Tuesday, when she was cross–examined by the defence counsel Leiataualesa Komisi Koria.
Leiataualesa put it to the witness that the grounds man Sio had already given evidence before the court and never once said that Lam beats up Sa’u.
“Sio had already testified before the court and in his evidence he said there wasn’t a single day that he had seen Kolani laid a hand on his wife Justina,” Leiataualesa challenged.
Tualagi, however, maintained that the couple would fight while Sio is there but some nights they would only argue in front of him.
She also recalled an incident where Lam pushed Sa’u’s face against the outside house wall because he would not allow her to visit her family at Apolima.
“He beat up Pa’i in front of Sio the night they were drinking. I can’t recall the exact date but I remember the incident very well.
“Pa’i had a black eye from that incident but she still went to work the next day. While I was outside hanging the washing Sio came over and puzzled over why Kiuga doesn’t want Pa’i to go visit her family in Apolima.
“His words to me was that Kiuga knows Pa’i is right about wanting to visit her family yet he still refused to let her go.”
The babysitter told the court that the grounds man knows what he saw and what he said during their conversation and the reason why Kolani and Justina had an argument, which ended up with Justina getting beaten up by the accused.
Tualagi insisted she was not lying after defence counsel Leiataualesa contends that she is.
“Lam will come and testify and he will tell the court that yes there was an incident that occurred, however, you weren’t there when the incident occurred.”
Again the witness insisted she saw the accused beat up the deceased.
Tualagi recalled another incident when the accused threw a kitchen pot at the victim’s head.
“We were on the table with Kolani, the twins and Justina, then Kolani’s phone rang and it was Aiva (Kolani’s ex-wife).
“Pa’i then confronted Kiuga and he got angry and grabbed the pot and threw it at Pa’i’s head.
“Pa’i fainted and I went over and tried to help her up. While I was running my fingers through her hair I saw that her head was bleeding.
“I asked her if she wanted to go to the hospital but said no she’s okay.”
Defense counsel disputed the witness account by referring to Talei (Justina’s daughter) who testified earlier that she never once mentioned that the babysitter was there.
“Talei gave evidence last week and spoke of that incident but she never mentioned that you were also there, is it not true if I say that you weren’t there during that incident?”
Tualagi kept to her testimony that she was there the whole time.
“Kiuga went and grabbed knives and some forks, but Talei told the court that it was a hammer and a knife.
"I told Talei to go take all the knives and forks and throw it in the bush.
“Talei was only there for a short period of time, because Kiuga threw her into the kitchen but I was there the whole time.
“ I tried to make Justina sit up and I asked her if she was okay and she said she’s fine.”
Leiataualesa then put it to the witness that there are times Justina would get angry and destroyed most of the things in their house.
The court also heard that Justina had broken the glass door of their house at Sinamoga twice and that she had assaulted Kiuga when they argue.
“Did you know that Justina would assault Kolani whenever they argue and there were times when Justina gets angry and would damage the things inside their house.”
The witness denied seeing the deceased destroy anything in their house at Sinamoga and that she did not see her assault Kiuga the whole time she was living there and working for them.
Tualagi recalled another incident when Kolani choked Justina while they were drinking with the grounds man.
The witness was questioned on her police statement to the police and that she went twice to the police and did a statement in connection with the incident.
The defence asserted that the witness did not tell the police about the incident where she said she saw Kolani choking Justina.
“You went twice to the police station and you had two statements in connection to this incident and yet you did not tell the police about the alleged choking incident?
“You are only adding that to your evidence but there is nothing in your police statement that you mentioned anything about that incident.”
The witness told the court she cannot recall what she said to the police.
“I’m not really sure or I might have forgotten because I was trying to think back to the other incidents and tried to recall how they occurred.”
But Leiataualesa put it to the victim that the reason why she did not tell the police is because she’s lying.
“You did not see Kolani choking Justina, you didn’t see Kolani’s ex-wife came over to Sinamoga while Justina was overseas, everything you have said in court you just add on to make your evidence strong,” said Leiataualesa.
The witness stayed with her evidence and told the court it is the truth and that everything she mention was what she saw during the time she was living at Sinamoga.