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Mum Tells of Last Moments with Child

Mum Tells of Last  Moments with Child
Loata Vitalina on July 4, 2017 outside court in Suva. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau
July 06
12:13 2017

An emotional mother cried in court yesterday as she gave an account of her last moments with her child.

The 32-year-old woman, Loata Vitalina, who is charged alongside her partner for manslaughter arising from breach of duty, gave evidence at the High Court in Suva yesterday.

The trial was heard before judge Justice Vincent Perera.

It is alleged that on February 28, 2013, at Sawanikula Village in Vunidawa, Petero Taitusi, 34, and Vitalina failed to ensure the safety of their one-year-11 month-old child who was under their charge and their failure caused his death.


Her testimony

Under examination, Vitalina said that she never dreamt that her son would die.

Defence lawyer Thomson Lee asked her to give an account of what happened on February 19, 2013.

She told the court that her son had a high body temperature so after breakfast she took him to the Samabula Health Centre with her aunt. Vitalina said that upon reaching the health centre she picked a number and waited to be seen by a nurse.

She said: “The nurse took my son’s temperature and then I asked her for hookworm tablets because hook worms were present in his stool in the morning.

“The nurse then gave the tablets for my son to have and didn’t tell me anything about the illness, but told me to sit and wait for an ambulance.”

Vitalina said that while she waited for an ambulance, her son started to cry and began nagging for food as he was hungry.

She told the court that she did not carry any food with her to the health centre so she decided to return home to feed him.

It was highlighted by Vitalina that she had waited for an ambulance for one and a half hours before she decided to go home.

Mr Lee then asked how she had gone home, to which she replied that she had walked as she did not have any bus fare.

“We walked and when we arrived home, I boiled some noodles for my son,” she said.

Mr Lee further asked Vitalina why she did not take her son to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

“The hotness (fever) had come down and he was feeling well and he started eating well, as well,” said Vitalina.

She told the court that she went to Sawanikula Village to present yaqona (traditional protocol) because ever since her son was born he was never taken to the village.

Mr Lee questioned Vitalina on what had happened on February 28, 2013, the day of the alleged incident. She said: “All of a sudden his health condition changed and his eyes started changing and I could only see the whiteness in his eyes.

“He started breathing his last breath. I carried him up then rubbed his back for him to regain his breath, but I couldn’t (get him to breathe again).

“I never dreamt that I would be sitting in front of this court today,” the teary mother said.

The case continues today.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra


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