Report – By Daniel Drageset
The mother of a baby found partly eaten by dogs has appeared in District Court amid a substantial media presence.
Justice Vaepule Vaemoa Va’ai adjourned the matter to November 5 to await a report from a New Zealand pathologist who conducted the post-mortem on the deceased baby, and for police to complete their investigation of the death.
The mother, 25-year old Seuta’atia Taina, has been charged with infanticide, the Samoa Observer reported.
The Si’itia family, who owned the now dead dog blamed for killing the infant earlier this month, said they suspected the mother had dumped the newly born baby on a piece of unoccupied land close to their property in the village of Vaitele.
“My brother saw one of our dogs come running into our gate with food in his mouth,” Atapana Sumeo Si’itia, 21, told the Samoa Observer.
“He thought it was a normal piece of meat but when he called us to come to take a closer look, I realised it was a baby with no arms.”
The baby boy was already dead, Si’itia said.
According to the Samoa Observer, the Si’itia family reacted angrily to Samoa’s Animal Protection Society (APS), which put the dog down after the family had reported the baby incident to the police.
A family member said they did not understand why the dog had to be killed as the “law clearly states that can only be done given a court order”.
The accused mother, who works at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, according to talamua.com, was referred to counselling by Justice Va’ai.
He also recommended the case be transferred from the District Court to the Family Court.
He said the Family Court had many programmes to help the defendant, while the District Court was purely a criminal court.
The judge required the prosecution to come up with reasons by November 5 why he should not transfer the matter to the Family Court.
When the court case was up earlier this week, the defendant stayed inside the court room until all the cases scheduled were dealt with by the court and she had no option but to come out.
When she appeared she covered her head with a shawl and hurried away from the cameras.
Daniel Drageset is the Pacific Scoop internship editor.