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Court Report

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SAMUSU RUGBY PLAYERS CLOTHES, SHOES ETC; STOLEN 

The rugby players from Samusu Aleipata who departed Thursday morning left without their shopping from the day before, to take to Samoa.

According to police, two young men are accused of breaking into a home in Ili’ili where the rugby players were staying, and removed clothes, shoes, cash and other items valued at more than $700.

The culprits are alleged to have ripped the screen wire on the window to the room where all the bags for the players were and took off with several bags belonging to members of the team. Witnesses told police that on Wednesday, the pair were at the house while the rugby players were packing up their bags in preparation for their departure the next day, however the next morning, the bags went missing.

The family who hosted the Samusu rugby players contacted police and were furious with what had occurred.

A family member told Samoa News, she’s disgusted with the behavior of the two young boys who are accused of taking the bags, because this is a disgrace and an embarrassment. “The rugby players were so excited to go back home with their shopping, however they departed without it because the two boys stole it”.

The woman said some of the items that was stolen were gifts from a traditional farewell party called an Aiava, that was held the night the bags went missing.

The Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation and recovered the items from the residence of one of the boys and was returned to the Fonoti family who hosted the Samusu rugby players.

A family member said they received some of the items but not all of it, and as of yesterday afternoon the family is still waiting for the remaining items that were taken from the house.

Police said the two suspects who allegedly stole the bags are also from Samoa.

The Samusu Aleipata team is one of the rugby teams that participated in the TMO, Pago Marist 7’s which was held last week.

THREE ARRESTED AFTER FLAG DAY CELEBRATIONS

Three men made their initial appearances in the District Court yesterday after the Flag Day celebrations.

One was police officer Semi Sago who’s charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and careless driving, while the remaining two are juveniles, facing underage drinking and public peace disturbance.

Police officer Semi Sago is alleged to have been driving, when his car ran off the main road while he was heading to Vatia early Thursday morning, according to police.

Officer Sago was taken to the LBJ hospital where he was treated and  taken to the Tafuna Correctional Facility, after he was released from LBJ. He made bail early yesterday morning, according to police. Sago made his initial appearance in the District Court where he has denied the charges against him.

Two juveniles who are high school students were arrested for alleged underage drinking and allegedly kicking vehicles that were parked in front of a grocery store in Nu’uuli. The juveniles are both 17 years old. Assistant Attorney General Terrie Bullinger said this is the first time these juveniles have wondered on the wrong wide of the law and they were released to the custody of their parents after spending the night at the Juvenile Detention Center.

DRUG DEFENDNAT RELEASED FROM JAIL

A high school student who pleaded guilty to the amended charge of unlawful possession of controlled substance was released from jail yesterday morning after serving 83 days in jail.

Ioane Tu’umalo of Pago Pago was initially charged with unlawful possession of controlled substance however in a plea deal with the government he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.  

 Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond sentenced the defendant to five years in jail however execution of that sentencing was suspended and he was placed on five years’ probation under the conditions that he pay a fine of $1,000. Tu’umalo was also ordered to undergo alcohol and drug counseling program set up by the probation office. During the hearing for his plea agreement,

Tu’umalo told the court he went into the bathroom and saw a plastic vial, picked it up and it contained marijuana. According to court documents, there were four marijuana joints inside the vial.

Public Defender Ruth Risch Fuatagavi asked the court to consider releasing the defendant on his own recognizance with the supervision of his mother.  She added the defendant has no prior records and given the quantity of the marijuana found was very small.

Assistant Public Defender Cable Poag said the government does not object to the defense lawyer’s request.

He said given the quantity is very small he will recommend to place the defendant on probation.

OFOIA SITAU JR’s CASE BOUND OVER TO THE HIGH COURT

Siatau Ofoia Jr who’s facing second degree murder, two counts of first degree assault, public peace disturbance and four traffic citations,  failure to give information, reckless driving, leaving the scene of the accident and failure to give immediate notice of an accident, will be arraigned in the High Court today. Ofoia who’s bail is set at $100,000 waived his rights to a preliminary examination yesterday in the District Court.

 Ofoia of Vaitogi is represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley. According to the government’s case on April 8, 2012 police received a call about a man who was lying unconscious on airport road. Police officers arrived at the scene and saw the victim lying unconscious while he was bleeding from his head. The victim also has an open wound on his back and left leg, says court documents.

According to court filings, witnesses told police the defendant was calling the victim who is his brother-in-law, however the victim ignored him and this upset the defendant. Its alleged Ofoia the victim with his vehicle, when the victim fell, the defendant fetched a cricket bat and struck the victim on his head. The victim was taken to the LBJ hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.

The victim suffered a 4-5 inch cut on the back of his head. According to the government’s case when police interviewed Ofoia, he said  he was driving when a male crossed in front of his car instantly and he tried to avoid a collision by swerving however he struck the young man. He said when he exited his vehicle  to find out it was his brother-in-law.

Police impounded the vehicle, along with the bat alleged to have been used in the alleged assault. Ofoia is on probation in connection with an assault case in Vaitogi several years back.



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