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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

MARCELLUS TALA UIAGALELEI APPOINTED AS NEW IP

Two weeks ago, the appointing division of the High Court appointed Marcellus Tala Uiagalelei as the Independent Prosecutor.

Uiagalelei told Samoa News that he’s working on the cases against House Vice Speaker Talia Fa’afetai I'aulualo, former Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety Filifa’atali Mike Fuiava and former Manager of the Office of Motor Vehicles Marie Ripley.

The newly appointed IP replaces Faamomoi Masaniai, who claims he has taken up a job with the US Department of Justice in Washington DC. Masaniai told Samoa News that he is fulfilling a special request from the Department of Justice to assist them in understanding the Human Trafficking problem in American Samoa.

Uiagalelei told Samoa News that the Attorney General's Office has turned over caseload boxes for the Fuiava, Ripley and Talia cases. The newly appointed IP said he’s currently reviewing the case that was handed to him last week. 

DPS APPEALS TO PUBLIC IN SEARCHING FOR SUSPECT IN ASSAULT CASE

The Acting Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety Leiseau Laumoli is reaching out to the public for assistance in the whereabouts of Sitau Ofoia of Vaitogi.

Ofoia is the main suspect in an alleged assault incident, where he allegedly hit another man with his vehicle and then took a cricket bat and struck the victim several times. The incident is said to have happened over the weekend following a fight in a restaurant at the Airport.

The Acting Commissioner said the suspect is still at large and they are exploring all options in looking for Ofoia. He added, the police are working on obtaining an arrest warrant for Ofoia.

Leiseau said the initial case, which was handled by the West Substation Patrol Division, has now being assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division. In the meantime the victim has been in critical condition at the LBJ hospital since Sunday morning.  

According to police, they received a call early Sunday morning from bystanders that a man was lying unconscious after he was struck by a vehicle. Witnesses told police that the victim was running when the suspect allegedly hit him with his car, and when the victim fell, the suspect got out of his vehicle, fetched his cricket bat, and allegedly struck the victim several times.

Police said when they arrived at the scene the victim was lying unconscious and the suspect had fled, leaving his vehicle and the bat he allegedly used to strike the victim.

According to police, the victim suffered a severe cut on his head with injuries to his legs; and the victim was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery due to the severity of his injuries.

The Acting Commissioner said the suspect’s vehicle has been impounded at the police lot and the cricket bat allegedly used has been confiscated as evidence.

SATELE GALU SATELE

The Attorney General’s office has moved to amend the second degree property damage to a third degree property damage count against Western District Governor Satele Galu Satele Sr.

The third degree property damage is a lesser offense, a class B misdemeanor, which carries a jail term of up to six months and or a fine of up to $500.

Assistant Attorney General Blake Hanley explained that given the new information he has just received from the victim that day, the government was prompted to amend the charge.

Satele is charged in connection with ordering two village officials of Vailoa to damage a grave last year.

According to court filings, Satele Sr. was not happy with the victim’s father’s grave — it was taller that the graves of his ancestors — which led him to order Vailoa officials to damage the victim’s father’s grave.

Marcellus Tala Uiagalelei, who represents the defendant, told the court that given the new amendment he needs time to consult with his client.

District Court Judge John Ward re-scheduled this matter to April 24, 2012.



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