Trial starts over Kiwi's death in Samoa

Last updated 09:44 21/01/2014
Hans Dalton
HANS DALTON: Found dead in a prison cell in Samoa.

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A man has gone on trial in Samoa for the murder of a New Zealander who was found dead in a water drum at the country's prison.

Aucklander Hans Dalton, 28, had been taken to Tafaigata Prison on Christmas Day 2012, news website Talamua reported.

He had mental health issues and while staying at a resort, the country was hit by a severe cyclone, cutting off his access to medicines.

Prisoner Jonathan Patrick Crichton, 21, of American Samoa, is on trial at the Supreme Court over Dalton's death.

Prosecutor Precious Chan said Dalton had been placed in a cell with two others, his mental condition worsened and he became aggressive.

Early on December 26 he was loud which caused Crichton to lose sleep and become angry. Later that morning police found Dalton dead, Chan said.

Half of Dalton's body was head-first inside a 44-gallon drum.

Chan said earlier in the month the National Health Service asked for help with Dalton.

They picked him up from the resort and gave him medication but could not contain his aggressiveness and transferred him to Tafaigata Prison.

Members of Dalton's family from New Zealand and their lawyer Leuluaiali'i Olinda Woodroffe are attending the trial, set down for four days.

Samoa has a mandatory death penalty for murder but it has always been commuted to life imprisonment.

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