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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

FAMILY OF FIVE PLACED ON PROBATION

A dispute over a dog in Futiga landed two families in the District Court, and members of the Toilolo family and the Aniseko family were arrested as a result, last week Monday.

However, last Friday the Toilolo family entered into a plea agreement with the government after appearing before District Court Judge John Ward.

Taoipu Toilolo entered his guilty plea to third degree assault while the rest of the family — Matagisila Toilolo, Linda Toilolo, Allen Toilolo, and Dolly Tapuala — pled guilty to Public Peace Disturbance.

The Toilolo family told the court the incident occurred when Taoipu’s vehicle ran over a dog which belonged to the Aniseko family. He told the court he was not aware that he ran over the dog when he was heading to the store, however on his way back home, the members of the Aniseko family were waiting for him on the road with rocks, sticks and weapons. The court heard that’s when the brawl between the two families started.

Matagisila Toilolo, the father, apologized to the court on behalf of his family and assured the court this will not happen again. He added that his family learned a great lesson from the incident.

Matagisila noted that the Toilolo family are peace keepers, and this incident was out of character for his family. Judge Ward told the Toilolo family not to take matters into their own hands, adding that police officers are there to assist and they can help resolve matters.

He said this ‘dog” has caused an altercation between two families and it could have led to something more serious. “If there were any serious injuries you would be locked up not for a few months but years,” said Ward.

Ward noted theToilolo family has learned a lesson from the incident, however the court must render punishment for this type of behavior to help the defendants attain skills that will keep them from being involved in such incidents and prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

Ward sentenced the family members to 30 days in jail, however the jail term was suspended on the conditions that Matagisila, Linda, Taoipu, Allen, and Tapuala each pay a fine of $100, within 30 days.

They were also placed on 12 months probation and were ordered to undergo anger management courses, visit probation officers regularly and remain law abiding citizens.

 Ward also ordered the Toilolo family not to contact the Aniseko family.

“Keep the peace” he said.

Linda Toilolo, who came to the territory on a 30-day permit, has agreed to depart voluntarily, and as a condition of her probation must remain outside the territory for one year.

DRUG CASE BOUND OVER TO HIGH COURT

Two men and a woman facing charges of unlawful possession of marijuana will appear before the High Court today. Vaoeli Lafoia, Keiana Talaese, and Hefa Vahe waived their rights to a preliminary examination before the District Court last Friday.

Court filings say police were responding to a public peace disturbance call on the Marina in Fagatogo that led to the arrests of Lafoia, Talaese and Vahe.

It says the police arrested three males in connection with disturbing the peace and went on the search for Lafoia, who had fled from the Marina Dock and went to the main dock.

While in an attempt to enter the wharf a security guard saw that Lafoia showed up with a marijuana joint on his ear and police were contacted.

A marijuana substance was alleged to be also found in Lafoia's pocket; and Vahe, who was also arrested in connection with the PPD, is alleged to have marijuana substance in his pocket.

Lafoia told police he got his marijuana from a friend who lives on the Southern Destiny boat that is docked at the Marina. Police proceeded to the boat and asked Pelenato Emelio for permission to search the boat, say court filings.

It’s alleged that Emelio gave the ok for police to search the boat and they found a phone pouch belonging to Talaese, which contained two marijuana roaches and smoking papers. Court filings say marijuana substance was also found in the area where Talaese was sitting. It’s alleged when Talaese was taken into the police station she went into the restroom and flushed the substance that was on her.

The substance found by police tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

SOPI SENIO

The government’s case against Sopi Senio facing first-degree assault on allegations that he struck another man with his vehicle over a land dispute has been continued at the request of his defense lawyer Mike White.

White told the court that he has more witnesses to interview and the request was granted by Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond. According to the government’s case, the incident occurred on December 3, 2011 in Leone.

Senio, who is in his 50’s, is also facing property damage and public peace disturbance charges, which are misdemeanors.

According to the government’s case, the defendant and the complaining witness, who is his neighbor, had a disagreement over land.

Senio has denied the charges against him and is out on bail of $25,000. As a condition of his release the defendant is ordered not to make any direct or indirect contact with the complaining witness and to be a law abiding citizen.



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