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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

MATTHEW MELEISEA

An 18-year old student who went into a store and ran out with a case of beer made his initial appearance before the District Court yesterday morning.

Matthew Meleisea is facing public peace disturbance and stealing charges which are both misdemeanors. The defendant was accompanied by three other juveniles, however only one juvenile was captured, while the other two juveniles are still at large.

Police affidavit says the defendant and the juveniles entered a store in Ottoville around 10 p.m. and went straight to the refrigerator.

It’s alleged Meleisea carried a case of beer to the cashier, while the juveniles had in hand cookies and chips. According to the police affidavit, after several minutes Meleisea grabbed the case of beer and ran outside the store.

The juveniles followed Meleisea without paying for their shopping. The defendants and the juveniles were caught on the store’s video surveillance, which was how the police were able to identify the accused.

Assistant Attorney General Terrie Bullinger said the police are still looking for the other two juveniles involved in this matter.

FA’AFEAI ATIMALALA

 A 48-year-old man whose residence was surrounded by ten live marijuana plants when police conducted a raid entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him when he was arraigned before the High Court.

Fa’afeai Atimalala is facing charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession with intent to distribute, which are both felonies.

During the raid, police confiscated the live marijuana plants around the defendant’s family home in Nu’uuli, when police were executing a search warrant. In addition were four marijuana plants growing inside a plastic bowl.

According to police, the marijuana plants, which were confiscated as evidence has a street value of $5,000. All the plants, which had heights up to 3-ft, tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Also uncovered were two glass pipes, six marijuana joints and loose dried marijuana leaves.

A pretrial conference for the defendant is scheduled for March 22, 2012. 

LOMITUSI FILIGA

The government has filed additional weapon charges against Lomitusi Filiga who’s accused of pointing a handgun at his relative when he was under the influence of alcohol.

In addition to the public peace disturbance Filiga is facing unlawful use of a weapon, possession of an unlicensed firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and third-degree assault. Filiga, who’s released on bail of $1,000 denied the additional weapon charges against him when he appeared before the District Court yesterday morning.

The government's case states the incident occurred in Fagatogo following the defendant’s family function. The unlicensed firearm was confiscated by police the day the incident allegedly occurred.

JIMMY FIDOW

The government has yet to resolve their case against Jimmy Fidow who’s facing first degree assault. The charges stem from a drinking session which turned violent, where the defendant is accused of striking his drinking mate on the face with a beer bottle.

Fidow appeared before the high court for his pre-trial conference however Assistant Public Defender Mike White told the court that negotiations are still ongoing and additional time is needed. Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond granted the continuance motion and rescheduled the matter to March 22, 2012.

 Fidow, who is still in the custody of police on bail of $15,000, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges against him.

The victim underwent an emergency operation as a result of the incident.

Assistant Attorney General Celia Reyna is the prosecutor for this case.



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