“Kolani Junior Lam assaulted Sa’u Justina Sa’u inside their bedroom on the 21st of October, 2019 and dragged her outside to the vigeka tree,”
This is prosecutor Magele Su’a – Mailo’s argument before Justice Mata Tuatagaloa during closing submission earlier today.
Magele told the court that prosecution’s case relies heavily on the evidences of the pathology, the baby sitter Meaali’i, Sa’u’s close friends, Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai, Talei Ah Liki, Anne Trevor, Sofia Sa’u and Talei Kelsall.
Lam also tried to defeat the cause of Justice by attempting to interfere with the babysitter Meaalii’s evidence in connection to the rope that was alleged Sa’u used to hang herself.
“Prosecution’s case that on Sunday 21st of October 2018 after the drinking session, Sio (grounds man) and Junior (Lam’s cousin) left their home (at Sinamoga) and the defendant was highly intoxicated but the deceased was less intoxicated by comparison,” argued Magele.
“The deceased and the defendant were tired and left to go inside the house; whilst they were in the bedroom the defendant assaulted the deceased by strangling her.
“He assaulted her in the bedroom between the hours of 12am to 1:30am, whilst the defendant strangled the deceased his fingernail bit into the skin of her neck and from the struggle the deceased earing fell inside the room.
“This earing was found by Meaalii in the morning of Sunday inside the room and it is the same pair of earring found by her cousin Anne Trevor on the deceased at the hospital.”
Magele told the court on the day Lam gave evidence during the trial he did not dispute when asked by prosecution during cross examination that the only reason why Sa’u’s earring would have fallen off if there was a struggle and in response Lam said yes.
“The struggle that occurred in the room are supposed to be under the vigeka,” she said.
“The deceased was assaulted in the room and then taken outside under the vigeka hence the reason why the earring was found in the bedroom.”
Magele also added, that most of the evidence by the witnesses Mele and Lele who were also baby sitters told the court that Lam not only physically assaulted but also emotionally.
Lele’s evidence said that at one point Lam would make Sa’u sit on the floor holding the table while he was eating and if the table moves he would scream at the deceased.
“Lele also told the court that the deceased took Lam to the shower giving him a bath while she had already been sleeping but had to wake up again.”
In referring to the pathologist evidence Magele told the court that during his evidence he said the cause of death was most likely by strangulation using fingers or by rope or both.
She said the pathologist also revealed the many bruises on the deceased could not have come from hanging alone.
But in defense counsel Leiataualesa Komisi Koria’s submission argued that during the pathologist’s evidence he did not say that the bruises were from being assaulted.
Komisi also argued that the earring that Meaalii said was found in the room was found by Lam outside under the vigeka tree while he was sitting there.
“The earring was then brought by the defendant inside the room where Meaalii had found in the morning,” said Koria.
Justice Tuatagaloa asked prosecution what the motive would be for the defendant to do such thing.
In response Magele told the court that one of the reason would be because Lam had already received his NZ citizenship.
“The defendant received his citizenship on the 10th of October and Justina died on the 21st two weeks after he received his citizenship,” said Magele.
“The motive would be because all of his family were residing overseas and he was the only one who is living here and Justina had no plans of moving overseas because she was planning to run as parliamentary, she was also looking after her family business as well as her mother.
“The other motive would be because Justina had investments here and overseas and therefore Lam knew that if Justina passed he is the one who will receive all of Justina’s assets as he is married to her.”
Another fact that was raised in court was when Lam did not visit his wife when she was taken to the hospital.
Magele said, Lam had the chance to visit his wife when she was taken to the hospital because he called Meaalii to come look after the children.
“Meaalii arrived at Sinamoga at 4am in the morning, therefore he had the chance to go see his wife at the hospital,” she said.
“He could have gone to visit her when Meaalii was there even after that but instead he drank with his friends the whole of Sunday.
“In prosecution’s case, the only reason why he did not go visit his wife was because of his guilty conscious.
“His conscious did not allow him to visit his wife because he knew that he had killed her.”
Magele also told the court that Justina could not have killed herself.
During the evidence of Talei and Sio they told the court that the rope was tied to the rafters.
Magele said Justina would need to stand on the shelf and untie the rope and then tied that same rope on the tree.
“This would have taken an amount of time to do and she could not have done all of this within 15 minutes,” she said.
She also put it to the court that normally for someone who had committed suicide their feet would have been suspended from the ground but Justina’s feet were still on the ground as told by Lam.
Magele also mentioned that during Anne’s evidence she said Justina’s feet were dirty on the top of her feet as well as the sole of her feet.
Magele argued that this could not be possible and therefore prosecution’s case argue that Lam had dragged Justina outside hence why the sole as well as the top of her feet were dirty.
Justice Tuatagaloa adjourned the matter and told counsels that she will inform them when her decision is ready.