“In the interest of justice”, two police officers have cases dismissed against them
The “Credibility of material witness” is the reason given for the Attorney General’s office move to dismiss the criminal case against police officers, Talia Seloti and Si’ufa’alele Sai in connection with two iPods that were taken into police custody as evidence in a stealing case. The government had charged Officers Seloti and Sai with felony stealing, embezzlement and tampering with physical evidence.
According to the government’s dismissal, heard before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond, the government claimed that in November 2010, the police officers were accused of taking two iPods that had been collected as evidence.
“Specifically, the defendants failed to place the items on a property receipt and turn them over to the Custodian of Evidence. Since the charges were filed, new information came out regarding the credibility of the material witnesses, and the government moved to dismiss the criminal complaint based on prosecutorial discretion and in the interest of justice,” says ASG’s dismissal motion.
Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond granted the government’s motion to dismiss the case. The defense attorneys for both cases, Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei and Sharron Rancourt did not object to the motion.
This incident started when two juveniles were reported to police after they allegedly had taken two IPODS in November 2010 from Ace Hardware. The government claims that the girls were taken to the Tafuna West Substation, where they surrendered the two IPODs to the police.
It’s alleged that Sergeant Solova’a Mageo, the watch commander, assigned the Ace Hardware case to officer Seloti and officer Sai.
Court filings state that Sgt Mageo gave the Nano Ipod to Seloti with the instructions to fill out a property report and turn it into the Evidence Custodian.
It’s alleged that when Detective Vaina Vaofanua with the Criminal Investigation Division interviewed Officer Seloti, he allegedly confirmed that he received the Nano IPOD from his watch commander and he took it home and did not prepare a property report on it.
According to the government’s case the other co-defendant, officer Sai, was told by Mageo to fill out a property report and turn the shuffle IPOD into the Evidence Custodian. However, officer Sai told the investigator that she had placed the shuffle IPOD into her locker and someone broke into her locker and took it.
The investigation into this matter was only launched after an official from Ace Hardware had inquired as to the whereabouts of the Ipods, only to find out that they were not in the evidence room.