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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

FILIOALI’I ALI’IOAIGA

District Court Judge John Ward found that there was probable cause to bind over the government’s case against the CCCAS Faleniu Reverend Ali’ioaiga Filioali’i in connection with a car accident, which led to the death of a 12-year old girl on September 19, 2010. The church leader is facing vehicular homicide, a felony that is punishable with up to five years in jail and or a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

The government’s key witness Sgt Mary Leiato testified during the defendant’s preliminary examination that the Church Minister’s F-150 pick-up truck struck the victim, who was on the sidewalk with her friend along the Faleniu public highway on September 19, 2010. Sgt Leiato explained the victim was struck by the front right fender of the truck.

According to court filings the victim’s friend told police the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed, and this was also the statement made by witnesses who spoke to police following the 2010 accident.

Court filings state the driver of the vehicle that was in front of the Reverend’s car told police the defendant’s vehicle was traveling at a very high speed.

According to the government’s case the victim was rushed to LBJ following the accident and she slipped into a coma and died 11 days later. An autopsy was conducted on October 1, 2010 by Dr Ivy T. Clemente who said the cause of death was determined to be a cerebral cortical contusion with associated subdural and intraparenchymal hemorrhage caused by a blunt force injury to the head. The church minister was represented by Fiti Sunia while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag.

KILISITINA SEIGAFO

Kilisitina Seigafo was released from jail yesterday when she appeared for sentencing before the High Court. Seigafo is charged in connection with stealing a businessman’s ATM card. She was initially charged with felony stealing however she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor stealing in an agreement with the government. The defendant, who’s been in jail for six months, admitted before the court she took the businessman’s wallet and used his ATM card to withdraw $260 without his consent.

In an earlier deal with the government, Seigafo was released from jail providing she make restitution to the business man for the money she took and if she complied, the Attorney General’s office would not go forward with prosecution. However, the defendant failed to make restitution and she did not appear when her case was called before the High Court. She was then arrested for the second time.

Seigafo was released yesterday from jail pending sentencing, which has been rescheduled while Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond awaits more information surrounding this matter.

It’s alleged the pair had a few drinks and then Seigafo took off with the man's wallet, used the man's ATM card and withdrew $260. She was caught on camera making the transaction. Seigafo is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna. The new sentencing date for Seigafo is set for April 9, 2012.

WESTERN DISTRICT GOVERNOR SATELE GALU SATELE

The government’s case against Western District Governor and Paramount Chief Satele Galu Satele Sr. who’s facing property damage, second degree has been continued to April 9, 2012. Satele is charged in connection with ordering two village officials of Vailoa to damage a grave of a relative last year. The charge facing the Western District Governor is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable with up to one year in jail and or a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

According to court filings Satele Sr. was not happy that the victim’s father’s grave was taller that the graves of his ancestors, which led him to order Vailoa officials to damage the victim’s father’s grave.  Court document say that the complaining witness spent more than $200 on the items that were bought to repair the damage to his father’s grave.

Satele Sr.’s lawyer Tala Uiagalelei said the Government's case is based on hearsay and they intend to show that there is no real evidence against his client. “My client will have his day in court, and we look forward to that day”. Prosecuting this matter is Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.

BUS DRIVER ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT OF ANOTHER BUS DRIVER

A bus driver made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday morning on allegations that he assaulted another bus driver over passengers. Sofeni Aumua is facing public peace disturbance and third degree assault. According to the government’s case the defendant was upset the victim picked up passengers, which the defendant claims he should have picked up in front of ASCC Wednesday afternoon.

Aumua is alleged to have walked onto the bus and assaulted the victim, who was sitting in his driver’s seat. Police said the victim covered his face using his hands because he was unable to get up from his seat. The victim suffered scratches on his face as a result of the alleged attack.



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