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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

AARON WISDOM

The Attorney General’s office has re-filed their case against Aaron Wisdom, the owner of the container at Port in which customs agents allegedly discovered a marijuana substance, drug paraphernalia, guns and live ammunition two weeks ago.

The government’s move to re-file followed when District Court Judge John Ward dismissed the charges against Wisdom Monday afternoon, after the government failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed and that Wisdom had committed that crime.

Speaking with Samoa News, Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag said he called to the stand a Customs Agent and the lead police investigator. The government witnesses testified before the court about the alleged marijuana, guns and live ammunition that were found in Wisdom’s container. Wisdom recently moved to American Samoa from San Diego, California.

The government in this case failed to have the witnesses identify the defendant in this matter. Judge Ward found no probable cause that a crime was committed and that Wisdom committed that crime and he dismissed the case. Ward’s judgment followed the preliminary examination hearing on Monday.

Samoa News understands that Wisdom was taken back into custody of police and he’s scheduled to make his initial appearance with the District Court today.

Wisdom is being held on bail of $20,000 on charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance marijuana, possession of unlicensed firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.

SAUSAULELE SIUA

The High Court has accepted a plea agreement between the government and Sausaulele Siua, accused of assaulting a female back in 2010.

Siua was initially charged with felonious restraint, second degree assault and public peace disturbance. He pleaded guilty to second degree assault while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges. The charges stemmed from an incident that occurred in April 2010. Second degree assault carries a jail term of five to fifteen years in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond was accompanied by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr. on the bench for this matter yesterday morning.

Siua told the court he was on his way home from a wedding party when someone threw stones at his vehicle. The court heard how the defendant stopped the vehicle, got out and punched the victim twice because he believed she was the one who had thrown the stones at his car. He said he was not aware that he had car keys in his hand when he was punching the girl.

The plea agreement that was read in the High Court states, the defendant’s action left the girl with a big laceration on her forehead. Court filing says the cut on the victim’s forehead required 12 stitches.

Before the judges accepted the plea deal, Richmond made it clear to the defendant that — despite recommendations by both parties on this matter — once he’s sentenced, if he’s not happy with the outcome, he may not come back to court to change his plea. The defendant assured the Judges that he’s well aware of it.

The defendant, who’s out on bail of $15,000 will be sentenced on February 23, 2012. Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop Folau is prosecuting for the government and Assistant Public Defender Michael White represents the defendant.

LT. STEVEN CASKEY

The District Court has continued the government’s case against Coast Guard Safety Detachment Unit Lieutenant Steven Caskey. He’s accused of driving under the influence and careless driving December last year.

Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement said she had just received discovery from the police. Ward granted the request and said this should also allow both parties to continue the plea negotiations. Ward scheduled the case to February 14, 2012.

Lt. Caskey refused to sign his traffic ticket and that’s what led to his arrest last year.

The prosecutor for this matter is Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag.

 



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