The Paua Palace

My royal blog, life, opinions and me, it’s all about ME.. Right?

Power disconnection death: the saga continues…

Posted by pauaprincess on June 12, 2007

More in the continuing saga of the Muliaga family who lost their Mother/Wife when a Mercury Energy contractor disconnected their power due to late payment.

The family have had another meeting with Police having failed to halt the investigation into the death of Folole Muliaga, they have made a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority citing thoughtless and ill treatment by Police.  Mrs Muliaga’s family has criticised the police investigation, saying it has been insensitive and unnecessary. Brendan Sheehan who seems to be the primary spokesperson for the family criticizes the Police for interviewing the family in English and that HE was not allowed into interviews once another family support person had left to fulfil her own obligations to her children.  Brendan Sheehan also contends Police did not allow the family to grieve adequately.

Police have statutory obligations with regard to sudden deaths.  Police are required to take charge of the body and deliver it to the Mortuary for post mortem and to carry out investigations on behalf of the Coroner for the Inquest.  In addition Police routinely use interpretive services for a number of different languages including sign and in Counties Manukau, the Police district in question, they have dedicated Iwi and Pacific Island Liason Officers.  Counties also has a high proportion of officers of Pacific Island origin to reflect its population.

To borrow a phrase from Shakespeare, methinks he doth protest too much.  They want their statements back from the original interviews, why?  Could it be that they are afraid that the investigation and Coroners inquest will lead to the conclusion that disconnection of the power was not the cause of Folole Muliaga’s death?

It has been revealed that Mrs Muliaga was gravely ill with obesity related heart and breathing problems.  She had turned her back on the cocktail of drugs that was keeping her alive for traditional Samoan healthcare and should not have been relying on the oxygen machine to keep her breathing, it was to assist not life support.  The families lawyer has stated that this aspect is irrelevant citing the stress of the power disconnection in their bid for compensation.

It seems the family advisors are possibly seeing the Police Investigation as a hinderance to their claim for compensation. 

Meanwhile, Mrs Muliaga has become the “poster child” for the little man.  Staff at the Hotel where Mr Muliaga works have taken strike action for higher pay, using the Muliaga family circumstances to support their cause.  The Prime Minister has used the issue in an attempt to curry favour with the voting population and this morning the family have criticized the Government for not going far enough with new guidelines to prevent impoverished families from having their power disconnected.

While the Muliaga’s were attempting to pay, which they were, their power should not have been disconnected.  Their circumstances should have been taken into account.  However, the family have to bear some responsibility too, where was Brendan Sheehan when they were receiving disconnection notices?  Why wasn’t he on to the power company ensuring that they were aware of the family’s circumstances?  What about the family’s church? Was Work and Income helping out at all? Were the family receiving the support of the agencies out there for just this purpose? Were the family referred to them at all by any of their current supporters who have emerged from the woodwork to appear before the media now?

You can read everything about this saga at the following link

Update as at 1.45pm my time:

Police have announced no charges will be laid with regard to Folole Muliaga’s death.  To summarize for those not wanting to read the entire story,

“There is no evidence to justify any charge in relation to the power company, their contractors or staff members.”

The investigative notes and interviews will be handed on to the office of the Coroner in order for the Inquest to proceed.

Further Update as at 2:51pm my time:

The Muliaga Family are pleased that the Police won’t be charging anyone over Mrs Muliaga’s death (in spite of calling Mercury Energy’s actions as criminal at the time) and are considering civil action.

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