Kiwi father dies before seeing justice for son Hans Dalton's death

A father whose mentally ill son was killed in a Samoan prison has died before ever seeing justice done.

Hans Dalton was found face-down in a large drum half full of water in his Tafa'igata prison cell, on Boxing Day in 2012.

The coronial inquest into his death has been delayed several times over the past five years. A new inquest was set to begin on November 1, but that too was postponed.

This latest delay means Hans Dalton's father would never live to see the truth about his son's death. Daniel Dalton died this week.

His wife Christine Wilson told Newshub Daniel was optimistic right up until his death.

"I know that he held the same hopes and dreams that we have that there will be truth, justice and accountability for Hans," she said.

In his final days, Daniel shared one last photo with a message reading: "Justice for my son Hans Dalton".

"It was like, his final words: 'I want to show Hans I did my best,'" Ms Wilson said.

"The fact that this brutal torture and murder was committed, there needs to be some closure for what has happened."

Hans had been visiting family in Samoa with his sister Natasha when they were caught in Cyclone Evan. The disaster meant he was unable to access to his medication and became aggressive.

His family contacted Motootua Hospital for support on Christmas Day but upon arrival, a psychiatrist suggested he be taken to prison for his own safety. At 7:15am the next morning he was found dead.

Police claimed at the time that Hans killed himself, but when the claims were disproven another prisoner was charged with murder. He was found not guilty, and so far no one has been held responsible.

Coronial Services has confirmed a new inquest into Hans Dalton's death will be held early next year.

His brother Nicholas doesn't blame the New Zealand justice system for the delays. Instead, he said Samoan authorities have consistently stonewalled the inquest by refusing to hand over vital information.

"We have had to put up with this level of dishonesty and disrespect and monkey behaviour.

"This is the reality: where an innocent man can be treated like that, murdered in jail, no one is held accountable, and we are left to pick up the pieces."

Ms Wilson is calling for Samoan authorities to front up and take responsibility.

"Something as serious as this cannot remain unresolved without a ripple of consequences.

"I think they have tried to hide the truth for whatever reason they may have. It was very early on that they tried to create a scenario to avoid them being held accountable.

"The people of Samoa deserve a better system than this."

A Coronial Services spokesperson said they cannot discuss the case as it is before the coroner.