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Court News

reporters@samoanews.com

A man accused by the government of breaking into the Tafuna Community Health Center compound and allegedly stealing a Department of Health vehicle faces new charges, filed by the government yesterday during a District Court hearing.

Andres Villar is now charged with one count of second degree burglary, and two counts of stealing - each a class C felony punishable by up to seven years imprisonment, a fine of $5,000 or both. He is also charged with third degree property damage, a class B misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of $500 or both.

A court affidavit states that police received a call from a DOH employee on Oct. 16 that one of their vehicles - license plate DOH-35, a new black truck - was stolen. The employee told police that while she was on the road in Petesa Uta, she saw the truck and followed it.

When the truck made a stop on the road, the employee pulled over and found in the car Villar and another person. The employee asked them who had broken into the Tafuna Health Center and stolen the vehicle, and Villar said it was him, the affidavit alleges.

The employee then told Villar and the person inside the truck to get out, because police were looking for the truck, but Villar backed up and took off, it further alleges.

The affidavit states that another person took Villar to the police station to self surrender and this individual told police that Villar admitted to stealing DOH-35.

The affidavit also states that another DOH employee had contacted police saying that someone had broken into the Tafuna Health Center and keys to two DOH vehicles, including DOH-35 were missing. The employee further told police that she saw the second vehicle DOH-6 impounded at the DPS Tafuna Impound Lot with major damage to the left side and tires. (There is no mention in the affidavit as to who caused the damage to DOH-6)

According to the employee, the door to the Physicians Office at the health center had been forced in and all the desk drawers were opened, with paper, supplies and change scattered on the floor. She said the door to the Executive Director's Office was also forced in, and paper and supplies were scattered on the floor. Additionally, keys to DOH-6 and DOH-35 were missing.

JACK BANSE

A 19-year old, accused by the government of driving a pickup truck that flipped in Ili'ili in August this year causing injuries to a young passenger, will be sentenced Dec. 8 after pleading guilty last week to felony driving under the influence, involving an accident causing bodily injuries to another person.

With the guilty plea, the misdemeanor charges of underage drinking, careless driving, and driving without a license were dismissed. The court reminded the defendant, who is out on bail, to continue to comply with all conditions of release, which include not having any contact with the victim.

This case is being heard before the Family  Drugs and Alcohol Court, a division of the High Court.

POUFA SILULU

Drug defendant Poufa Silulu is scheduled to appear Thursday in High Court where a plea agreement will be presented to the bench for consideration and review.

Silulu is charged with one count each of unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession with intent to distribute. Each of the felony crimes is punishable by a term of imprisonment of not more than 20 years and a fine of not more than $20,000 or both.

The case against Silulu stems from a June 14, 2011 police "controlled buy" of illegal drugs in which a police confidential informant was used for purchasing from the defendant, in Nu'uuli.

When confronted by police, Silulu  pulled out a medium sized zip loc plastic baggie from his pants pocket and gave it to police, saying that it was marijuana joints, the government alleges in court documents.

Silulu allegedly told police that he found four zip loc baggies in a bus going to Tafuna and inside each plastic baggie were 10 marijuana joints. Allegedly, he further told police that he sold some of the marijuana joints for $10 each and gave others to his friends.

During a court hearing last week, Silulu's attorney Public Defender Ruth Risch-Fuatagavi announced that her client had already signed a plea offer with the government and the court scheduled a plea hearing this Thursday.

WIFE ABUSER SENTENCED TO PROBATION

The District Court last week sentenced to two years probation a man who assaulted his wife, while the wife was holding the couple's two-year old child.

Conditions of probation imposed by the court include that the defendant does not threaten his wife or cause any problems in his family. He is prohibited from consuming alcohol during the probation period, and must attend and complete alcohol counseling as well as anger management courses.

Prior to being sentenced the defendant apologized to the court for his crime and promised he will never do it again. He also apologized to his wife with a promise he will never assault her again. Court information reveals the victim telling police that this is not the first time her husband assaulted her.

In this type of domestic case, Samoa News does not identify the defendant to protect the victim.

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



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