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DPS Deputy Commissioner says Asst AG should have been arrested

reporters@samoanews.com

Claims by Public Safety Officer Motu Tafaovale that Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe allegedly interfered while police were carrying out their duties in an incident two weekends ago did not sit well with the Department of Public Safety’s Deputy Commissioner Leiseau Laumoli.

Leiseau said the prosecutor should have been arrested and he was not happy with the poor decision by the police officer and the Watch Commander. The Deputy Commissioner told Samoa News that just because she ( Philippe) is a prosecutor, does not mean she is above the law. He added that the Attorney General should do something about Assistant AG Philippe.

He added that he has met with the investigating officer and Watch Commander and they are now waiting on the police report for said matter.

“If anyone had contacted me on the night in question, or if that was me — that prosecutor would have spent the weekend in jail, said the Deputy Commissioner, noting it’s unseemly “for a prosecutor to interfere with police work, because they are the ones who prosecute members of the public, who do the same thing she did.”

Acting Attorney General Mitzie Jessop-Folau told Samoa News that they are currently awaiting the police report from the Department of Public Safety. She said once they receive the report, they will do what the law allows them to do in these types of cases.  

The incident started when police responded to a public peace disturbance call on March 26, 2012 at the Bowling Alley in Tafuna. Court filing states when police arrived at the Bowling Alley parking lot they observed a group of people boarding an aiga bus. Court filings state that police were approached by Assistant AG Camille Philippe who told them that “nothing happened, everything is okay and under control.”

Police said the call they received was from the owner of the club Marion Fitisemanu, who pointed out the defendant, Malama Petaia, who was allegedly causing trouble in his club.

Fitisemanu told police that security guards were trying to tell Ms Petaia that beer bottles are not allowed on the dance floor for safety reasons, however she got furious and started swearing at the security guards.

According to police, after interviewing the club owner, they noted Ms Petaia boarding the bus with Assistant AG Philippe. It’s alleged that police approached the bus but the Assistant AG did not let the police officers inside the bus and after several minutes of confrontation with Philippe, police officers then told the bus driver to go over to the Tafuna Sub Station for further investigation.

According to the government’s case when the police officers were trying to interview Ms Petaia, it’s alleged that Philippe told Ms Petaia to be quiet.

Ms Petaia is charged with public peace disturbance.



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