Court News


A plea agreement between the government and David Maea was accepted by the High Court on Thursday.

Maea is one of the four inmates who are accused by the government of escaping from the Territorial Correctional Facility last year and assaulting a security guard at the ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank branch in Tafuna.

Maea was initially charged with first degree assault, robbery and escape from confinement. Under the plea agreement read in court last week, the defendant pled guilty to the assault charge and government moved to dismiss the other two charges.

The court then took the agreement under advisement and the case was called Thursday where it announced accepting the agreement. Maea is now set to be sentenced Jan. 22 next year.

Entering the guilty plea, 20-year old Maea admitted to assaulting the ANZ security guard after he escaped from the TCF, where he was serving time for a prior crime, a robbery spree hitting five different homes and businesses in one-day.

According to court documents, Maea stabbed the victim with a butter knife, which did not penetrate the victim's body. Maea along with co-defendant Pati Lepou, "kept hitting and kicking" the victim who was on the ground bleeding from his head and face.

Two of Maea's co-defendants in the assault case, Lemalu Sefo and Gasona Mafiti, have already reached separate plea agreements with the government. Each defendant pled guilty to escape from confinement, with the first degree robbery charge dismissed. 

Pati Lepou, was initially scheduled to go on trial Dec. 1 but during a hearing last week, it was agreed to continue the trial to early January.

Sentencing for Sefo and Mafiti is on hold until resolution is reached on Lepou's case.


The pre trial conference hearing for Taligalu Ah Sui is set for Jan 5 in High Court, scheduled after he was arraigned Wednesday.

Ah Sui is accused of breaking into a home on the western district and trying to stab a man with a pair of scissors. 

20-year old Ah Sui entered not guilty pleas to the charges of burglary in the first degree, assault in the second degree, underage drinking and private peace disturbance. 

Ah Sui, represented by Public Defender Ruth Risch-Fuatagavi, remains in custody unable to post $25,000 bail.


Two 16 year olds, sentenced in District Court this week, each received one month probation and a warning by District Court Judge John Ward II that any violation of probation is subject to consequences.

The court also set conditions of probation, which include that they do not violate any local laws and do not return to the store they broke into. They were also ordered to be at home from 6p.m. to 6a.m., the next day, unless accompanied by their parents and they must not miss any day of school.

Each defendant had been charged with first degree burglary for breaking into a store by taking out the air conditioner to gain access. Neighbors heard loud noises coming from the store and contacted police.

The court was told that the juveniles' parents paid for repairs to the air conditioner and the juveniles had not stolen any goods or damaged any other store property.

The pair was taken into custody in early October following the incident and remained at the Juvenile Detention Center for three nights until they were released to their parents. The court decided that the three nights at the Detention Center was sufficient punishment as jail term.


Eta Ve'a, released by the District Court on his own recognizance, returns to court later this month for another hearing. Meanwhile, he has been ordered not to make any contact with the woman he allegedly assaulted on Thanksgiving Day. 

Ve'a is charged with misdemeanor third degree assault, a crime punishable by up to one year imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

Prosecution alleges that 45-year Ve'a slapped the complaining witness in the facial area during a church function in Faleniu.

According to the government, Ve'a was upset with the woman for stirring up drama during their church activities. He asked the woman to leave but the response was screams and verbal abuse from her, so he slapped the victim. The woman suffered a swollen cheek from the assault.

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


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