Life imprisonment for double murder in Savai’i


The Samoa Supreme Court has found a man guilty of a double murder in a historic first assessor trial heard at the Tuasivi Courthouse in Savaii.

In an assessor trial in the Samoa Supreme Court, once a defendant is found guilty of murder, the life sentence is automatically invoked.

Samoa Observer reports Auia Fereti Moefiti of Fogapoa stood trial this week before a panel of five assessors from Savaii with Senior Supreme Court Justice Vui Clarence Nelson presiding.

Moefiti maintained his not guilty plea to the two charges of murder, one of armed with a dangerous weapon and using a firearm, namely a 22 pistol.

However, the assessors found him guilty of the murder of Su Pa’i Tonise, 60-years-old, and his 18-year-old son Phillip Misipope Tonise on June 22, 2022 at Fogapoa.

The defendant was also found guilty of the firearm charges.

The death of the two men in Fogapoa was a result of a land dispute and following the incident, Moefiti was banned from setting foot in the village.

The defendant claimed his action was in self-defence alleging the deceased shot at him first and he retaliated by firing back.

Auia will be brought back to serve the maximum sentence of life imprisonment at the Tanumalala prison.

Photo:Samoa Observer