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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

IANUALIO LEIATO

Drug defendant Ianualio Leiato was released last Friday after he was sentenced to three years probation with several conditions attached. Among those conditions are: during the probation period, he is not to consume or be involved in drugs, must not possess any weapons and is subject to random testing for drugs and alcohol by local authorities.

Leiato, who has been in custody since his arrest in August, was initially charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, driving while under the influence, and unlawful possession of a weapon. But under a plea agreement with the government the drug charge was amended to a lower drug charge, while the other charges were dismissed.

The charges against Leiato stem from an incident on Aug. 20 when police made a traffic stop suspecting that the defendant was driving while under the influence of alcohol. Police saw a brown bag and marijuana was found during a check of the car.

During sentencing, Leiato apologized to the court for his crime and sought probation.

The court ordered the defendant to pay a $2,000 fine but that is stayed if he abides by all conditions of probation. The court also suspended the defendant’s driver’s license for six months.

PROBATION FOR THREE DEFENDANTS IN THE SAMOANA HS CASE

Three of the four women accused in the incident that occurred early this year at Samoana High Court have pled guilty to public peace disturbance and were sentenced last week by the High Court to probation.

The four individuals are daughters and grand daughters of Police Commissioner Tuaolo M. Fruean.

Sentenced last week were Blanche Tua and her daughter Deevon and each was sentenced to six months probation. Both have been ordered to attend and complete anger management courses, refrain from violating any other laws in the territory and they must visit the Probation Office once a month. Each was ordered to pay a $50 fine.

In a separate hearing, also last week, Sandra Herrera was ordered to pay a $75 fine. She was initially charged with public peace disturbance but that count was amended to careless driving — a misdemeanor — for operating her vehicle in a careless manner on the high school campus.

In the case of the fourth person, Sandra Herrera Sopoaga, the government requested and the court dismissed the public peace disturbance charge against her.

The charges against the defendants stemmed from an incident that occurred in February this year at the main office of Samoana High School where the defendants were accused of assaulting two students.

ASOTASI MAIAVA

A young man accused of using a BB gun to hold up a store in Ottoville along with two other juveniles will be sentenced next year after entering a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit robbery.

Twenty-year old Asotasi Maiava was initially charged with robbery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit robbery and unlawful use of a weapon. He is accused by the government of pointing a BB gun at a store clerk and demanding money when he and two juveniles robbed the store.

But under a plea agreement with prosecution, the defendant pled guilty last week to the conspiracy charge while the other charges were dismissed. For the guilty plea, Maiava admitted that he, along with a 14-year old and a 17-year old youngster, planned to rob the store during a drinking party.

He admitted using a BB gun and forcing their way into the store, where they stole merchandise, including cash, phone cards and cigarettes. Maiava remains in custody unable to post bail with sentencing set for Jan. 26.

According to court information, the trio tried to disguise their identities by wearing hooded sweaters and covering their faces with scarves. They took off with $300 cash, cigarettes and phone cards. The robbery was caught on the store's surveillance camera. Neighbors helped police identify the culprits who robbed the store, which is operated by Asians.

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



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