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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

SOPI SENIO

A man who allegedly used a vehicle to hit another man has entered a not guilty plea to the charges of property damage and assault in the first degree with pre trial conference set for next year.

Sopi Senio entered the plea when he was arraigned in High Court last Friday after his case was bound over from District Court, where the defendant waived his rights to a preliminary examination hearing.

The incident involving Senio occurred in Leone and he has since been released from custody after posting $25,000 bail. While out on bail he is ordered not to make any direct or indirect contact with the victim and not to violate any other law.

The court has set pre trial conference for Jan. 23.

PIO FAGAAUTAU

A man accused of breaking into the home of a relative in Amaluia and allegedly stealing family belongings has pled not guilty to burglary in the first degree and stealing. Both charges are felonies.

Pio Fagaautau entered the plea in High Court last Friday during an arraignment hearing after his case was bound over Thursday from District Court, where he waived his rights to a preliminary examination hearing.

Court information states that it was around 5a.m. on Dec. 8 that the defendant broke into a relative’s home and took off with a cell phone, shoes and cash. A relative sleeping in the home woke up to find the defendant in the house.

Fagaautau, who is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 13 for a pre trial conference hearing, remains in custody unable to post $15,000 bail.

FOUR MEN ACCUSED IN AN ASSAULT CASE FROM LAULI’I

The government is expected to file soon additional charges against four men who are currently charged with public peace disturbance for the alleged assault of another man at Lauli’i village.

Taufua Mataese, One Vaisagote, Kalepo Alfred and Faleali’i Sagote were taken into custody following the alleged assault Tuesday evening. Except for Sagote, the other three defendants made their initial appeared in District Court on Wednesday.

Sagote was unable to attend the hearing because he was taken to the hospital early Wednesday morning for a health issue, not related to this incident. He will appear at a later date in court.

According to court information, the defendants allegedly beat up another man, who has since been admitted to the LBJ Medical Center with serious injuries.

Prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing in this case with additional charges to be filed soon.

BOXER CHARGED WITH RAPE TO RETURN NEXT MONTH TO COURT

Pre trial conference set for this week, for Samoa based boxer Aokuso Fa’amanu, who is accused of raping a 16-year old girl, has been continued to Jan. 6 in the High Court, because both sides appear to be heading toward a resolution in this case.

Fa’amanu’s defense attorney Public Defender Ruth Risch-Fuatagavi told the court this week that the defense is prepared to reach a plea agreement with the government and sought a continuance in the hearing.

Fa’amanu, who remains in custody unable to post the $100,000 bond, is charged with  rape, deviated sexual assault, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

The government accuses the defendant of having sexual intercourse with the 16-year old victim on Nov. 3.  Fa’amanu was in the territory in October as a member of the boxing team from Samoa here for the Moso’oi Amateur Boxing tournament.

DANNY MASE

A man accused of throwing a beer bottle that shattered the window of a moving vehicle and  injuring a 2-year old, will be sentenced Jan. 26, 2012 by the High Court after pleading guilty to second degree assault, a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, up to $5,000 fine or both.

At last week’s plea hearing, Mase told the court that his action that day in September was never intended to injure anyone.

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



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