The Ministry of Police is investigating the alleged assault of Suapaina Savai’inaea during a Supreme Court hearing on Monday.
The defendant — who is jointly facing a manslaughter charge with Herman Westerlund in connection with the death of Malaki Tauili’ili — was in Court for criminal mention when the incident occurred.
According to Police officers who were escorting Savai’inaea, the assault occurred after the defendant’s appearance before the Chief Justice.
“After their case was called, the defendant then walked back to his seat, when another inmate punched him on his jaw while his family looked on,” said a Police Officer, who is not authorised to talk to the media.
Eye witnesses, who were in the Courtroom on the day of the incident, have been asked to make statements with the Police on the alleged assault, the Samoa Observer has been told.
Repeated attempts to get comments from the Commissioner of Police, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, on the alleged assault were unsuccessful.
The assault allegedly occurred in the presence of Police officers.
The Samoa Observer has also been told that Savai’inaea remains under Police custody, and is not housed at the Tafa’igata Prison due to concerns for his safety.
During the hearing on Monday, the Supreme Court granted bail to Savai’inaea.
But it rescinded its decision after Sulamanaia Tauili’ili — who is the father of the deceased — told the Court that he is concerned for the safety of the defendant.