Court News


Local boxing official Henry Tavake was charged Tuesday in District Court with public peace disturbance for allegedly punching another man on Monday in the parking lot of the District Court building.

The altercation occurred just after the sentencing hearing in the District Court for Samoa boxing coach Lautapa'a Wong King, who pled guilty to a misdemeanor and has since returned to Apia.

According to a police affidavit, a police officer on the scene witnessed Tavake in an altercation with another man in the parking lot. There were also other witnesses, who were taken to the main police station for questioning. Witnesses told police that they saw the defendant and the victim talking and then the defendant punched the victim.

The victim, who is an official with another boxing organization, told police that the defendant approached him and punched him.

Tavake, who was taken to the hospital for treatment due to a laceration to his left ring finger and then released, told police that he acted in self defense. Tavake said he approached the victim and whispered in the victim's ear to "stop spreading rumors" about the defendant, the affidavit alleges.

Tavake states that the victim "stood in a stance" that appeared to the defendant "as a person ready to strike" and that was when the defendant "countered with a left hook connecting with the victim's jaw," it further alleges.

The affidavit states that the victim suffered a laceration to the inside of his mouth and was treated by EMS at the police station. The victim declined further treatment by a physician.

Tavake was released on his own recognizance after the Tuesday hearing and returns later next week for another hearing, where the government will reveal whether additional charges will be filed against him.

The court has prohibited Tavake from making any contact with the victim, and he must surrender his travel documents and not violate any laws while he awaits the next hearing.


The High Court has continued to Nov. 21 a hearing for the five Nu'uuli rugby players accused of assaulting Samoa-based referee Ponifasio Vasa during a match between Nu'uuli and Avele at Veterans Memorial Stadium in July.

Selefuti and Fauta'i Tago, Iopu Siolo, Pene Allardice Wells, and Tautiaga Uili (aka Pelenato Barry) are each charged with one count of felony first degree assault and misdemeanor public peace disturbance. They have already entered not guilty pleas to the charges.

During a court hearing this week Fauta'i Tago's attorney, Marcella Tala Uiagalelei asked to set a trial but but noted that there should be sufficient time before trial for all sides to review photos from the rugby match.

Prosecutors say they are reviewing additional photos received recently from the rugby match.

All five defendants remain in custody unable to post bail.


The District Court has set a status hearing on the government's case against the police commissioner's two daughters and two grand daughters for later this month.

The defendants are Sandra Herrera Sopoaga, Sandra Herrera, Deevon Tua and Blanche Fruean-Tua; each are charged with public peace disturbance. The defendants have all denied the charges.

The court last Thursday scheduled a pre trial conference in the case. Except for Blanche, who is off-island, the others were present during the hearing.

Attorney Sharron Rancourt is representing Sandra Herrera, while Assistant Public Defender Mike White is legal counsel to the other defendants. During the court hearing, the defense attorneys requested a trial date.

District Court Judge John Ward II asked the defense if they have fully discussed this matter with the government, to which the two attorneys responded, yes.

Because Blanche is off-island the court rescheduled another hearing for Nov. 29 and it should know then the trial date.

The charges against the defendants stem from an alleged incident that occurred in February this year at an office at Samoana High School, where the defendants are accused of assaulting two students.

Families of the two students have stated that this all began following an incident at a church function.

Samoa News reporters Fili Sagapolutele and Ausage Fausia contributed to this report.


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