The man who stabbed his estranged wife nine times in the neck in front of the National Bank Building of Samoa at the beginning of the year appeared in Court yesterday.
Thirty-three-year-old Petaia Swerling, of Tufuiopa, is set to be sentenced on 19 April 2018.
Refusing the offer to have a lawyer represent him, Swerling pleaded guilty to the charges. He appeared before the Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu.
Swerling is facing charges of being armed with a dangerous weapon, causing grievous bodily harm and attempted murder.
Yesterday, he was asked by Chief Justice Patu whether he wanted a lawyer given the seriousness of the charges against him.
“I don’t want a lawyer your honor,” he said, “I am ready to respond to the charges against me.”
That’s when he pleaded guilty.
“The Court has noted down your guilty plea to all the charges against you and you do not want a lawyer to represent you,” His Honour Patu said.
“Therefore, this matter will be adjourned until Monday 19th April, 2018 to wait for a pre-sentence report as well as the decision by the court.”
“It will be called before Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and you will still be remanded in custody until this date.”
According to the police summary of facts, the incident happened on 12 January 2018 in Apia.
The Police claim that he attempted to murder Bernadette Loia, a female of Tufuiopa and Salelologa.
“He was armed with a dangerous weapon namely a cooking knife and he had caused grievous bodily harm to the said female.”
The accused had stabbed his wife before running away and attempted to self-harm. An eyewitness said the man came out of nowhere and started stabbing her multiple times in public.
“The victim is an employee for one of the government ministries housed at the A.C.C. Building,” one eyewitness said.
“He was waiting for the victim to come to work because it was around 8’oclock in the morning that the incident occurred.”
When members of the public rushed to her rescue, he ran away.
“He ran towards the Mulivai Bridge because a taxi driver was chasing after him. He jumped into the sea and he went inside a pipe that is under there.”
“However, when he decided to come back out, the knife that he used on his partner was in his chest.
“The Police arrived at the scene and the ambulance was called. They were both taken to the hospital and they underwent operation.”