Inquest into Savai’i babies’ deaths adjourned

APIA, 08 OCTOBER 2018 (SAMOA OBSERVER) – The inquest into the death of two babies in Savai’i following their vaccination in July this year has been adjourned again to October 24.

Senior sergeant Richard Ah Chong confirmed this when asked by the Samoa Observer.

“It has now been adjourned to the 24th of this month because the Judge’s decision is not ready,” he said.

In the last Court proceedings, presiding District Court Judge, Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma, said he will consider the submissions by the prosecution and defense on whether he should adjourn the inquest, until criminal proceedings against two nurses in the Supreme Court is complete.

Last month, counsel representing the family of the two toddlers, Muriel Lui, argued that the criminal matter is not dependent on the inquest and the parents of the deceased had an interest in the speedy handling of the matter.

“I don’t understand the reason why this matter should be transferred to be heard together with the criminal matter because they are two separate matters in two separate courts.

“And in any case we are not sure what the nurses are charged with and the findings there are not dependent on this hearing,” she submitted to the Court.

The argument by  Lui compelled Judge Fepuleai to alert her to the Coroner’s Act 2017 Section 30, which he said is clear when it came to such matters.

“Coroner’s Act 2017 Section 30 states and that is very clear that when there are criminal charges arising out under circumstances, in the death of the two deceased the coroner will have to postpone the coronial inquiry until the criminal proceedings are concluded,” said the judge.

However, Lui in response submitted that she studied that particular section of the law and is of the view that the inquest should not be dependent on the criminal proceedings and the coroner should proceed.

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