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Man accused of assault placed on probation, ordered to undergo counseling

reporters@samoanews.com

Lilomaiava Sa’olotoga who struck another man with a beer bottle causing severe injuries, has been placed on probation for two years.

Sentencing for the defendant was handed down by Chief Justice Michael Kruse on Friday. Kruse was accompanied on the bench by Chief Associate Judge Logoai Siaki and Associate Judge Fa’amausili Pomele.

Sa’olotoga was initially facing charges of first degree assault and public peace disturbance, however he entered into an agreement with the government and pled guilty to the amended charge of assault, third degree, while the government moved to dismiss the public peace disturbance charge.

Public Defender Ruth Risch Fuatagavi asked the court for a probated sentence noting that the defendant is a father of three and has been employed for over ten years since he moved to the territory. She noted that Sa’olotoga is a good father and husband. The public defender asked the court for a probated sentence for the defendant.

Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna told the court to consider the severity of the injuries sustained by the victim in this matter. She said what the defendant did is not just a simple third degree assault. Reyna said that the 15 days, which the defendant served before he was let out on bail was not enough of a jail sentence for the defendant, given that the victim suffered lacerations on his facial area which required 30 stitches.

Reyna asked the court to sentence the defendant to what would be appropriate, considering the injuries the victim sustained from the incident.

The prosecutor said the only reason she moved to amend the felony assault charge to a misdemeanor, was because she could not prove the felony charge against the defendant.

 Kruse then sentenced the defendant to one year in jail, however execution of that sentence was suspended and the defendant is now placed on two years probation with the condition that he pay a $1,000 fine, abstain from consuming alcohol or any controlled substance, undergo and complete alcohol counseling, visit the probation officer quarterly, be subject to random testing for drugs and alcohol, and remain a law abiding citizen.

Court affidavit says the now closed Rubbles Tavern in Nu’uuli is where the defendant assaulted another man. The assault occurred after the defendant found out the victim had taken some of the beer that was on the defendant’s table.



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