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MOTHER ALLEGEDLY LEAVES CHILD OUTSIDE APARTMENT

The government is looking at filing additional felony charges against a mother who allegedly left one of her three children outside their apartment while under the influence of alcohol last week in Nu’uuli.

Samoa News has chosen not to disclose the name of the mother to protect the identities of the three children involved in this matter. The mother in her early twenties is currently facing a public peace disturbance charge and made her initial appearance in the District Court last week.

According to the government’s case police were contacted by the neighbors after the three-year old child was crying outside the apartment.

It’s alleged that one of the neighbors told police the mother was yelling at the child to keep quiet or she would spank him if he did not stop crying.  

The government claims when police officers arrived at the apartment they found the child crying outside at the door of the apartment while the mother with her two other children, a five-year old and nine-month old baby were inside. It’s alleged the mother was intoxicated.

According to the government’s case the mother repeatedly denied that the child outside the apartment was her son, when asked by the police officers.

Child Protective Services with the Department of Human Social Services were called in by police and they took the children under their care following the incident.

 It’s unclear if the children were released into the custody of their father, who was not at the apartment on that specific day given that he was attending a family meeting.

COURT RULED DENYING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL IN TRIAL CASE

 A man found guilty of the misdemeanor charges of attempted kidnapping and false imprisonment, verbally (not a written motion) moved for the judges to acquit him on the attempted kidnapping count.

He was found not guilty of the more serious charges of rape and sexual abuse.

Samoa News has not named the defendant to protect the identity of the victim in this matter.

The court ruled to deny the motion orally, but noted that a written order would be issued to support their denial of the motion, and the court has since issued it .

According to the order,  following the jury’s verdict and being discharged, the court appointed stand-by counsel Matailupe Leupolu, who was to provide legal advice and assistance subject to the defendant’s directions, verbally moved for judgment acquittal on the attempted kidnapping count.

The defendant argued the evidence was insufficient to support a finding that he committed the offense of attempted kidnapping in that it was insufficient to establish the element that the defendant purposely terrorized the victim.

The court disagreed, noting the evidence amply supported finding that the defendant purposely injured and terrorized his wife by forcing her into his friend’s vehicle without her consent.

The victim testified during trial she feared for herself due to the defendant’s actions.

In explanation, the judges noted that though the defendant was sexually aggressive with his wife, he had not used physical violence against his wife before February 15, 2012, during their marriage.

“However, by then the marriage was seriously distressed and she was separated from him,” they stated.

The order lays out the set of events that occurred, which led to evidence that sufficiently supported the finding that the defendant wanted and expressed to have absolute control over his wife.

She was terrified the defendant would harm her and he purposely terrified his wife and forced her into the friend's vehicle and by that action necessarily injured her physically in at least a minor way.

As such, the court affirms its verbal order denying the defendant’s verbal motion for acquittal of the offense of attempted kidnapping. The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

SET OF EVENTS

According to the order a few days before February 15, 2012, the defendant went to his wife’s workplace, took his wife outside and forcefully held her hand, the wife then freed herself and ran to the company’s security post and asked to call for police assistance.

The police took the couple into the police station where the wife refused to leave with the defendant and she was taken to the government’s shelter.

Then, on the afternoon of February 15, 2012, the defendant encountered the victim at her aunt’s place in Fagatogo.

The defendant saw the victim coming and he hid behind the curtain and emerged only after she entered the house and they were alone.

The defendant told her to go into a bedroom where he told her they would have sexual intercourse, the wife initially rejected his advances.

“Although she feared physical harm by the defendant if she rejected him, she could have ultimately and voluntarily submitted as the defendant’s wife to his sexual objectives as the jury apparently found,” states the order.

After the sexual encounter the couple talked for a while about their personal situation, and the defendant wanted to go to their marital home in Utulei; however the victim feared what the defendant would do to her at the Utulei home, but she agreed to go with him because it provided her opportunity to seek refuge when they would necessarily pass by the police station.

While the couple was walking to the malae in Fagatogo, they struggled and the victim began to scream and cry for help. A friend of the couple driving by, stopped to assist the situation. The defendant opened a rear door of the friend’s car and while attempting to muffle her mouth physically by force pushed the still crying and screaming victim into the car to prevent her from reaching the police station. However, the police responded and the officers stopped the defendant from taking any further physical action against the victim and took them both to the police station.



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