Court Report



A man is fighting for his life at the Intensive Care unit at the LBJ hospital following an assault incident in Auasi Tuesday evening.

Lomitusi Uiagalelei, arrested on the night in question, is being held at the Tafuna Correctional Facility on bail set at $10,000.

The defendant is facing a public peace disturbance and made his initial appearance in the District Court this morning.

Assistant Attorney General Blake Hanley said the government is looking at filing additional felony charges against Uiagalelei. According to the government’s case the defendant was upset that the victim’s dog was barking during evening prayers.

It’s alleged the defendant struck the victim’s dog with a shovel and when the victim’s wife approached the defendant, they argued verbally.

Court filings state that the victim got upset and approached the defendant.

According to the government’s case the defendant struck the victim with a shovel on the head and a fight broke out until bystanders intervened and broke up the fight between the victim and the defendant. Court filings state that bystanders contacted police for assistance when the victim fell and a lot of blood was seen coming from the injury to his head.

When the defendant made his initial appearance yesterday before District Court Judge John Ward, the prosecutor said the victim is in the ICU undergoing further treatment for severe injuries to his head.

The defendant is scheduled to appear in court today to determine whether the government will have the new charges ready for Uiagalelei. The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement.


District Court Judge John Ward sentenced Merota Falemiga to serve 270 days in jail, which is equivalent to nine months, for driving under the influence and felony driving while his driver’s license was suspended. This is Falemiga’s second felony driving and his fourth DUI conviction.

Sentencing for the defendant was handed down by District Court Judge John Ward, who was accompanied by Associate Judge Suapaia Pereira last week.

For the DUI charge Falemiga was sentenced to 12 months in jail, however execution of that sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for two years. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $1,000, however $500 was deferred.

For the felony driving while his driver’s license was suspended, Falemiga was sentenced to serve 60 months in jail. Execution of sentence was, however, suspended and he is being place on probation of five years under the condition that he serve 270 days (9 months) in jail.

Falemiga was also ordered to pay a fine of $3,000 however $2,500 was deferred. Overall sentencing for the defendant is to run concurrently and the amount of the fine he’s to pay is $1,000. He’s also placed on five years probation.

Ward also revoked and permanently suspended Falemiga’s driver license.

Falemiga, an employee of the Criminal Justice Planning Agency with the government, is also allowed to be on work release from 6 AM to 6 PM.

Other conditions of his probation are that Falemiga is to remain a law abiding citizen, visit the probation officer regularly, not consume any alcohol and he’s subject to random testing for alcohol consumption or use of illegal drugs. Falemiga was also ordered to attend and successfully complete alcohol dependency program at the LBJ hospital.


A Vietnamese fisherman appeared in the District Court yesterday on allegations that he struck another Vietnamese fisherman Tuesday night at the Karaoke Club.

Yan Dien is charged with a public peace disturbance, however the government is looking at filing additional assault charges.

According to the government’s case the defendant, who was intoxicated, was upset with the victim — who was also intoxicated — and a fight escalated. The defendant struck the victim on the head with a beer bottle. The victim was taken to the LBJ hospital where he was treated and released. The victim suffered a cut which required multiple stitches.

District Court Judge John Ward rescheduled this matter for June 14, 2012 when the defendant returns from his trip out at sea. The defendant, who’s a fisherman asked the court to release him to travel for work.

Ward also ordered the defendant to be confined on the vessel until his departure. He is not allowed to consume any alcohol before and after he returns to the territory from his trip.

The defendant is out on a $300 bail, and is represented by Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement. 


The scheduling of the hearing for Coast Guard Safety Detachment Unit Lieutenant Steven Caskey who’s charged with Driving Under the Influence has been postponed to May 17, 2012.

During the last hearing for Lt Caskey, who was initially represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley, Caskey was ordered by District Court Judge John Ward to attain  private counsel.

When Lt Caskey appeared in court for a status hearing, his new attorney, Sharron Rancourt asked for a two week continuance so she can have time to go through the paperwork because she was just retained by the defendant.

Assistant Public Defender Shelley told Samoa News that she suspects that Lt Caskey’s income does not qualify him to be represented by the public defender’s office. Samoa News asked why Lt Caskey had been able to retain representation by the Public Defender’s office in the first place, but Shelley said she was not aware as to why.

According to the government’s case Lt Caskey refused to sign his traffic citation tickets and that’s what led to his arrest last year. The prosecutor for this matter is Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag.

(The Samoan version of this story, “LT STEVEN CASKEY”, appears in today’s Samoa News, under Tala Faamasinoga, Thursday, May 03, 2012, and can be found on samoanews.com.)


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