Murder trial of Tongan man in Auckland aborted after week of evidence

The jury in the murder trial of Alec Junior Moala has been discharged, and a new trial will have to be held.

Sosaia Vaitohi (left) and Methuselah Talakai (right) are on trial for murder in the High Court of Auckland, accused of killing Alec Moala in May 2021. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Sosaia Vaitohi and Methuselah Talakai appeared in court charged with the alleged murder of Moala, 31, on May 23, 2021.

They had been on trial since last week in the High Court at Auckland before Justice Mathew Downs yesterday called off the trial, which had been scheduled to last three weeks.

Prosecutors have alleged Vaitohi was the gunman and Talakai was the driver early on May 23 last year when Alec Junior Moala, 31, died outside an Ōtāhuhu home from multiple shotgun wounds.

A report by the NZ Herald said: “The bad blood between Moala and the defendants had started the day earlier, after Talakai went to the same home for a drug deal set up by Moala’s cousin that fell through, Crown prosecutor Chris Howard told jurors last week. The cousin, Chanelle Mafileo, was slapped by Talakai as he demanded money from her, the prosecutor alleged during his opening address”.

It said Moala got into a heated phone exchange with the defendants about the slap after he arrived at the property hours later, prosecutors said.

“But defence lawyers Anoushka Bloem, who represents Vaitohi, and Julie-Anne Kincade, KC, who represents Talakai, have said their clients were not at the property when Moala was shot”.

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news