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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

ASSOCIATE JUDGE MUASAU SWORN TO UPHOLD LAWS OF TERRITORY

The Chief Justice’s court room was packed with family and friends of Muasau Tasina Tofili, who was sworn in as a new Associate Judge, earlier this week.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse said Muasau was recently nominated by Gov. Togiola Tulafono and was confirmed by the Senate to the position of an Associate Judge of the High Court. “His addition to the bench finally brings out the complement of Associate Judges to six, a number we have not had since the retirement of Associate Judge Save Liuato Tuitele last year."

“The machinations of democracy and politics have required time to bring our bench to full complement. I would like to thank Governor Togiola and the Senate for our new judicial appointment,” said the Chief Justice.

ATTEMPTED MURDER JURY TRIAL SLATED FOR MARCH 2013

The government’s case against Siatau Ofoia, Jr., who faces second degree attempted murder, two counts of first degree assault, public peace disturbance, four traffic citations, failure to give information, reckless driving, leaving the scene of the accident and failure to give immediate notice of an accident, is scheduled for jury trial next year March.

The defendant who is held on bail of $100,000 appeared for his pre-trial conference before Chief Justice Michael Kruse yesterday.

 According to the government’s case, on April 8, 2012, police received a call about a man who was lying unconscious on the airport road. Police officers arrived at the scene and saw the victim lying unconscious while he was bleeding from his head, an open wound on his back and left leg, says court documents.

According to court filings, witnesses told police, the defendant was calling the victim, who is his brother-in-law, however the victim ignored him and this upset the defendant. It’s alleged that OfoiaJr., the victim with his vehicle, when the victim fell, the defendant fetched a cricket bat and struck the victim on his head.

FOLASA’S CASE IN HIGH COURT

The government’s case against Malaeloa Folasa from Gataivai who allegedly attempted to blow up the Morris Scanlan Gas Station while intoxicated was bound over to the High Court when he waived his rights to a preliminary examination in the District Court. When Folasa was arraigned in the High Court yesterday he denied the charges of first degree attempted arson and public peace disturbance.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse presided over this matter.  

According to the government’s case the defendant was allegedly upset with the gas station for not respecting the village curfews.

The gas station provided police with a surveillance video from the gas station where the defendant was seen to repeatedly grab fuel pumps and hold up a lighter with an open flame just a few inches from the fuel pump nozzle. Pre-trial conference is scheduled for the defendant on November 13, 2012.

INSURANCE AGENTS TO ENTER GUILTY PLEAS

Two former employees of Florence Saulo and Associates Insurance company arrested on allegations of misappropriating funds of more than $10,000 belonging to the company are scheduled to enter guilty pleas before the High Court next week.

The defendants, Priscilla Toelei’u and Herema Taupau were in the High Court for pre-trial conference. They are each charged with embezzlement, a class C felony which is punishable with up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from commission of said crime, up to $20,000, or both fine and imprisonment.

Details of the plea agreement were not revealed and has yet to be announced in open court.

According to the government’s case, on September 7, 2011, the Department of Public Safety received a letter from the President of Florence Saulo and Associates (FSA) Vui Florence Saulo asking for a criminal investigation of two former employees on allegations they had misappropriated company funds close to $12,000.

Toelei’u is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White, Taupau by Sharron Rancourt and prosecuting this case is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.

MAN DENIES ALLEGED FORGERY CHARGES

A man is being held on bail of $30,000 on allegations that he cashed several checks belonging to Friendly Car Rental for close to $1,000. He has denied the charges against him.  

Malcolm Dalle, who is facing two counts of stealing, two counts of forgery and resisting arrest is scheduled to have his pre-trial conference before Associate Justice Richmond on November 13, 2012.

According to the government’s case, the defendant went over to Friendly Car Rental to make reservations and allegedly stole a box of checks while there; and later forged and cashed two of the checks — one at a local store, another at one of the local banks.



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