Opening arguments heard in jury trial for assault case
A two-man, five woman jury was selected yesterday to hear the government’s case filed against Eliota Siaumau Sr in connection with an incident that occurred two years ago. Siaumau Sr is charged with second degree assault, a class D felony punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of $5,000 or both fine and prison.
The charges stem from allegations that the defendant allegedly assaulted a young man in a night club back in 2010, however the case was only filed last year. The defendant is represented by Sharron Rancourt while prosecuting for the government is Assistant AG Tony Graf.
When explaining the preliminary jury instructions, Chief Justice Michael Kruse noted the government has the burden to prove the charges filed against the defendant in this case.
During opening arguments, Assistant AG Graf informed members of the jury that the victim, Calvin Lotovale will testify that in the early hours of May 15, 2010 at the Taps Bar and Night Club, the victim was hanging out with his friends, and while dancing on the dance floor a fight broke out outside the bar.
Calvin went out to see if his friends were involved and he saw the defendant there. Graf further stated that Calvin will testify that his friend was beaten and in attempt to stop the fight Siaumau Sr punched Calvin, but missed, and then he (Calvin) punched back.
The Assistant AG then stated that other people came against Calvin, and he fell to the ground and that he (Calvin) felt an object hitting his head before he was unconscious.
Calvin will testify that while on the ground he was kicked and punched by numerous people. However he managed to get up and run away. The defendant ran after Calvin, said the prosecutor.
He further stated the defendant is guilty of the crime committed.
Rancourt pointed out to the jury the evidence will show that Siaumau Sr did not commit the crime he’s accused of, he did not use any object to hit anyone, nor is he guilty. “What the government said is not evidence — it’s what he (the prosecutor) hopes to prove.”
Rancourt noted that on May 15, 2010 Calvin and his friends started a fight with other boys and Calvin felt a hit from behind, but he did not see who did it. She further stated that it was an off duty police officer and the Taps Security guard who “brutally beat Calvin, not Eliota.”
She alleged that Calvin was cuffed from behind and he was placed in a dark area where he was secretly beaten.
Rancourt noted that the beating was a bad one, and that Calvin suffered swelling on his forehead and sustained cuts on his arms. Also, she said the room where Calvin was secretly beaten had blood stains on the floor. Rancourt said off duty Police Officer Vili Fa’apouli had cuffed Calvin and stood there while Ramos Molipe beat Calvin. She then stated that her client is wrongfully charged in this matter. The hearing continues this week.
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