Prominent farmer court trial for attempted murder of alleged lover starts

About the author:

Tina Mata'afa-Tufele is a Pasifika journalist that has been writing and covering news related to the Samoan experience for over a decade. She's written for Samoa News in American Samoa, (covering news from Hawaii, the U.S.

  • FILE PHOTO: Scene outside the court rooms
    FILE PHOTO: Scene outside the court rooms

The trial for Peter Tulaga, the prominent farmer charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting his lover during an argument at his Vailoa home in January, began Tuesday morning in the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala Warren is presiding in the trial by judge and five assessors – two women and three men.

Prosecution plans to call more than 30 witnesses including the victim Fresna Rimoni who will testify via video link.

Tulaga is facing four charges: one count of attempted murder, one count of being armed with a dangerous weapon, one count of possession of an unlicensed firearm and one count of causing grievous bodily harm.

Prosecution called as their first witness, Police Constable Isaac Key who photographed the alleged crime scene, a room in Tulaga's home in Vailoa.

Prosecution contends the defendant and victim were in a relationship and that  Tulaga shot Rimoni with a shotgun after they argued over suspicion of dishonesty.

The defendant maintains he is innocent.

The trial is expected to last four days.