“His three-year old now has to live his life without his daddy. He has to grow up without his dad around to teach him the manly things…he wont be able to celebrate his birthdays with his daddy anymore nor wish his daddy a happy fathers day..”
Those were the words posted on social media by a close relative of Jeremiah ‘Malaki’ Tauiliili, 24, who was beaten to death last weekend outside a nightclub in Samoa.
Malaki is survived by his toddler son Leowiess and partner Mataolealofa.
Another close family member Ervin Lavea-Gatoloai spoke to SUGA Magazine.
“Malaki was attacked brutally by a number of individuals last week on Friday night which put him on life-support due to severe brain injuries, bleeding and swelling.
“The Lord called our brother Malaki back home this morning the fifth of December, 2018.”
The Samoa Observer reported that police have identified three of the attackers as Herman Westerlund, Suapaina Savai’inaea and Rob Ash.
Westerlund and Savai’inaea have been charged with manslaughter and will remain in Police Custody until their hearings on the 17th of December.
Rob Ash has been charged with assault and has been released for the time being until his hearing on the 18th.
Lavea-Gatolai speaks fondly of his cousin Malaki whom he says will be dearly missed.
“He is a humble and quiet individual that always went about his business without bothering a soul.”
Malaki, from the villages of Letogo, Vailele and Laulii was a scholarship student from Samoa who had graduated last year with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in New Zealand.
He initially began studying for his degree at the Canterbury University in Christchurch.
“He was a hardworking young man that loved his small family. He was honest in all his dealings and his faith was strong.”
Malaki had returned to Samoa to serve his bond obligations at the Minister of Works, transport and infrastructure.
Malaki told AUT Pacific late last year of his love for his country and his goals of creating impact.
“I came here so I could make a difference in New Zealand and in Samoa. I want to serve the needs of my community. I want to be part of something great,” he had quoted.
It is understood that the perpetrators are connected to prominent business people in Samoa.
Will Justice be served?
Many have said that Samoa doesn’t have a good track record of justice when it comes to punishing the ‘privileged and elite’ who come in contact with the law. Below are a couple of examples of questionable cases.
In 2014, Leslie Kolhase, 19, was found not-guilty of two counts of manslaughter and two counts of negligent driving causing death.
Leslie was alleged to be driving under the influence in November the previous year, causing her vehicle to crash killing two of her passengers Jessie Risale and Thesaurus Heather.
The families of the victims were devastated and mystified with the outcome considering the prosecution had 24 witnesses against the defence’s six witnesses who supported the accused’s ‘not guilty’ plea.
The decision caused outrage in the Samoan community.
Leslie’s family are well known to the Business community in Samoa.
She was represented by lawyers, Lei’ataualesa Daryl Clarke and Leilani Tamati.
The presiding judge was The Chief Justice, his Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu.
More recently this year, the 29-year-old daughter of a Government Cabinet Minister, Rose Hope Ah Leong, who pleaded guilty to negligent driving causing the death of a child, had been given a 12 months probation sentence and a $1,000 fine.
District Court Judge Alalatoa Rosella Viane Papali’i handed down the sentence citing that Rose Hope Ah Leong was genuinely remorseful.