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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

SIAMUPENI LEFAOSEU ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

Siamupeni Lefaoseu will be sentenced by the High Court on May 4, 2012 for second degree assault.

Lefaoseu admitted yesterday before the court that he struck the arm of another man with a machete, during the plea deal with the government. The 18-year old pled guilty to second degree assault which was amended from first degree assault, while the government moved to dismiss the public peace disturbance charge.

The plea agreement was accepted by Chief Justice Michael Kruse who was accompanied on the bench with Chief Associate Judge Logoai Siaki and Associate Judge Fa’amausili Pomele.

The plea agreement that was read in court indicated the defendant’s family performed the traditional ceremony of seeking forgiveness (ifoga) to the victim’s family, which was accepted. It also stated that the defendant’s family was penalized by the Faleniu Village Council because of the incident.

Court filings state that the defendant assaulted the victim with a machete after he learned the victim was one of the men who beat up the defendant’s younger brother. The incident occurred at a bus stop in Faleniu.

The Chief Justice ordered a probation report for this matter. The defendant was represented by Sharron Rancourt, while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna.

ASSAULT CASE IN NU’UULI

Three men and a woman were arrested Saturday evening following a drinking session which turned violent.

Lusia Toelupe, Lualima Taulote, Tumama Auva’a and Silimau Omeka made their initial appearance before the District Court — each are facing public peace disturbance and third degree assault.

According to the government’s case the defendants were drinking with the victim. However one of the defendants was not happy about remarks made by the victim and a fight escalated. It’s alleged that after the fight the victim sustained a cut on his head, which required four stitches. The victim was taken to hospital where he was treated and released the same day.

Toelupe Lualima and Silimau were held in police custody after the immigration officer told the court they were over-stayers in the territory, while Tumama was released on his own recognizance.

All four defendants are represented by Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The government has filed additional charges against a man who allegedly assaulted his pregnant wife last week.

Samoa News cannot name the defendant to protect the identity of the wife.

The defendant is facing charges of resisting arrest, assault third degree and private peace disturbance. This is in addition to the public peace disturbance charge.

The defendant appeared before District Court Judge John Ward. According to the government’s case the defendant who was intoxicated got upset and started breaking things inside their home and allegedly assaulted his wife. According to the government’s case the defendant also resisted police officers, who were trying to place him in handcuffs.

The defendant who has been in police custody since last week was initially held on $1,000 bail, however the bail was reduced to $300 yesterday.

The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Blake Hanley.

JOE LOETA AND MICHAEL LEATIGAGA

The two men charged in connection with the alleged theft of more than 200 cases of wahoo from Star Kist Samoa last year have yet to reach an agreement with the government.

Assistant Public Defender Michael White asked the High Court for an additional two weeks time, while both parties continue negotiations.

Joe Leota is facing first-degree burglary and stealing, while his co-defendant Michael Leatigaga is charged with stealing and receiving stolen property.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse granted the request and scheduled this matter for April 2, 2012.

According to the government’s case Leota removed more than 200 wahoo cases from the cannery warehouse. It’s alleged the cases of wahoo were loaded onto Leatigaga’s truck.

The court filing states that Leatigaga allegedly sold some of the cases to at least two stores. It’s alleged that police were able to recover half of the cases that were removed from the warehouse.



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