Leiataua Lolani Evile, was called into court this week, as a state witness to the murder hearing of his younger, CEO sister, the late Sa’u Justina Sa’u.
Leiataua appeared on the 4th consecutive day of court proceedings against his brother-in-law, Kolani Jr. Lam, accused of the murder.
The court heard his account of how the staff at the Unit Trust Fund of Samoa where she was the CEO, told him about the bruises on her eyes and how some days she would not work.
Leiataua told the court that it was his daughter Karena who told him about an incident, when Lam allegedly choked Talei Justina Kelsall, his 14-year-old stepdaughter from his wife Sa’u.
Leiataua’s daughter Karena has told him about the incident when he came to pick her up after school the next day which is Friday.
“My daughter said Kolani choked Talei. I did not say anything in the car until we went and picked up Talei from Robert Louis on that day,” he said.
“When Talei got inside the car I then asked her if it was true what Karena had told me. Talei did not say anything but she cried, so I didn’t say anything anymore but drove to Apolima.
“When we got to Apolima I then told my mom and that’s when she called up Talei and Karena and ask them about the incident.”
Leiataua also told the court that there was one day when he called up his sister Sa’u for the cheque book to their family home business at Apolima so they could do the shopping, but she did not meet him but rather she send one of her employees to give him the cheque book.
“Every time I call her for anything that has to do with the business she would always come and see me when I come up to her office even if she is busy,” he said.
“But this is the first time when I went up to her office and she did not come out but she send one of her female staff to give me the cheques book.
“I ask the girl where Justina (Sa’u ) was but she said she was bus. The girl said Sa’u had bruises in her eyes.
“There was also another day when I called her for the cheque book and was told by the office that she was not working that day.
I called her that I was coming to their home at Sinamoga but she said no and we ended up meeting on the road at Vaimoso where the EFKS church is.
“I was angry still from the incident with Talei but Sa’u told me that I have no business to interfere in her relation with Kolani (Lam).
“That got me angry and I just drove off with tears in my eyes.”
He went on to recall the day Sa’u, Baby Sofia and Talei returned from New Zealand. He and his wife, daughter Karena and Talei had to come to Sinamoga to get Talei’s things.
He said he did not get out of the car but it was his wife, daughter and Talei who went to see Sa’u and her new born baby Julani.
Under cross examination from defence counsel Leiataualesa, challenged the evidence by Leiataua.
“Kolani will say, that he came out and greeted you when you came over to Sinamoga,” said Leiataualesa.
“Kolani will also say that he apologised to you because of the rumor that Talei had spread and that you were sitting outside on the porch and called Talei and Karena to come.
“He will also say that he asked Talei in front of you about spreading the rumor but both Talei and Karena just stood there and said nothing.”
Leiataua, however, stood by his testimony and told the court that he never came out of his car and that he had never spoken to Kolani.
“Let Kolani come and testify and say that, but I am telling you that I did not talk to Kolani nor did I come out of my car, I did not want to get out of the car and I definitely did not want to talk to Kolani.”
Leiataualesa also put it to Lolani that when Justina heard about the rumor she did not believe it.
“Did you know that Justina did not believe one bit of Talei’s story because there were times that she spanked her because she lied,” said Leiataualesa.
In response, Leiataua told the court that Sa’u did not believe Talei because she was hiding the fact the Kolani was very abusive.
Leiataualesa then ask Leiataua if he had checked for bruises on Talei’s neck.
“Why would I check it. I didn’t need to check anything because I believe my kids more than I believe Kolani, I will also take my kids word for it rather than Kolani.
“The reason why my sister did not believe what Talei said is because Sa’u was hiding what was really happening at their home at Sinamoga.
“So when she found out that we know about the incident with Talei she got angry. She did not want us to find out that her husband is abusive towards her daughter and herself.”
Leiataualesa asked why they did not lodge a complaint to the police when Talei told them about what happened.
Leiataua said his sister stopped them from doing anything about the matter.
“We discussed this with our mother and so we called up Sa’u who was in New Zealand at the time and told her about the incident.
“Sa’u became very angry and she told us that if we want to lodge a complaint go ahead, but it was the way she was talking to us that tells us she did not want us to do such thing.
“It was the way she sounded that gave me and my mother the idea that she did not want to get Kolani in trouble because she was scared of him.
“That’s why we did not move but decided to leave things the way it is.”
The trial continues.