Manslaughter convictions follow 2013 death in Afā after earlier trial dismisses murder charge

    Two men have been convicted of manslaughter following the death of a man in Afā on July 21, 2013.

    In the Supreme Court Hon. Justice Cato sentenced Semisi Lolohea and Monalisa Manumu’a to nine years in prison for the manslaughter of ‘Eneasi Tuʻineau Lātū.

    Lātū, 48, was married with six children.

    Both prisoners apologised to the family of the dead man and compensation of food, pigs and mats had  been accepted.  Lolohea was  distantly  related to the dead man’s family.

    Manumu’a had been found not guilty of murder by a jury at an earlier trial on July 1 this year.

    As a consequence, charges of murder against Lolohea were withdrawn and he was re-arraigned on a charge of manslaughter.

    In his summary Hon. Justice Cato said that on or about July 21, 2013, at Afa, Lolohea  and  Manumu’a  went  to  the  house of ‘Ana Lupe Kama for a meal. Afterwards they drank alcohol with another friend  before returning to Kama’s house where they continued drinking.

    While they were drinking, Lolohea and Manumu’a kept complaining about Lotu Latu and how a week before he had taken Kama to a drinking party where she was beaten up.

    Later that night Latu passed the house where they were drinking. The two rushed out and beat Latu up before they were separated by another person.

    Just then Lotu Latu’s father, ‘Eneasi Latu, was walking back from a kava party. Lolohea stopped ‘Eneasi and told him to find out whether his son was alive. ‘Eneasi became angry and returned carrying a machete and an iron bar.

    In the ensuing fight ‘Eneasi cut Lolohea’s leg with a knife. Lolohea and Manumu’a beat him with sticks until he fell over and continued to beat him on the ground. Neighbours arrived and dragged the two assailants away while ‘Eneasi was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead. The cause of death was a brain haemorrhage caused by blows to to his faced and head.

    In determining the sentence Hon. Justice Cato said he considered, with some reservations, the argument that the jury at the earlier trial had found Manumu’a not guilty because of provocation by ‘Eneasi Latu.

    “The  major initial contributing factor  for  this  homicide was the foolish decision of Mr  ‘Eneasi Latu  to  return  armed with a machete and  iron bar to the area where he knew Semisi Lolohea had earlier confronted   him concerning  the  activities  of his son,” the judge said.

    “Although the initial provocation may  still   have  been operating  on  their  minds  and  fueled  their  anger,  I consider  their main   motivation,   at  the   end,  was   to exact   revenge.”

    In handing down his sentence, the judge said Manumu’a  appeared to be a better candidate  for  rehabilitation  than  Lolohea.   Accordingly, he suspended the last two years of Manumu’a’s sentence and the last 18 months of Lolohea’s period of imprisonment.

    The main points

    • Two men have been convicted of manslaughter following the death of a man in Afa on July 21, 2013.
    • In the Supreme Court Hon. Justice Cato sentenced Semisi Lolohea and  Monalisa  Manumu’a to nine years in prison for the manslaughter of ‘Eneasi Tu’ineau Latu.
    • Both prisoners apologised to the family of the dead man and compensation of food, pigs and mats had been accepted.  Lolohea was  distantly  related to the dead man’s family.
    • Manumu’a had been found not guilty of murder by a jury at an earlier trial on July 1 this year.

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