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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

FOUR MEN IN STONING INCIDENT ENTER GUILTY PLEA

The defendants charged in connection with the stoning of three police vehicles last year in Nu’uuli—Vani Atafua, Siaosi Laulu, Benjamin Maybir and Iosefa Falealo — have entered into plea agreements with the government.

All four defendants pled guilty to conspiracy to commit property damage, amended from the original charge of property damage, first degree.

In plea agreement with the government, the public peace disturbance charge has been dismissed.

Atafua, Laulu, Maybir and Falealo admitted in court that they conspired to stone the police vehicles that were passing by the main road in June last year.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond accepted the plea agreement and dismissed the remaining charge. According to the plea deal with the government the defendants have agreed to pay restitution of $2,050 for the repair of the police vehicles that were damaged.

According to the government’s case, the police van sustained huge dents on the rear side as a result of the incident, and the damage is estimated at $1,100. An estimated $950 is needed to repair damage to the other vehicle, a sedan.

The two juveniles also involved in this same incident have already been sentenced by the District Court. Those juveniles were charged with stoning the vehicle which also caused injury to Lt Fasi Ta’ase, when a rock landed on the cop’s face, injuring his eye.

Each of the defendants are being held on $10,000 bail, and are represented by the Public Defender’s office while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 21.

OFFICER TALIA SELOTI’S CASE IN HIGH COURT

Police Officer Talia Seloti, one of the two police officers charged in connection with stealing an Ipod from a case he was working on, has denied the charges against him.

Officer Seloti is charged with felony stealing, embezzlement and tampering with physical evidence. Officer Seloti, who’s represented by Sharron Rancourt, is out on surety bond of $10,000.

Seloti appeared before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond who was accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr. Officer Seloti is charged together with police officer Si’ufa’alele Sai who is charged with embezzlement  and tampering with physical evidence.

According to the government’s case, two juveniles were reported to police from Ace Hardware after they allegedly took two IPODS in November 2010. The government claims that the girls were taken to the Tafuna West Substation, where they surrendered the two IPODs to the police. It’s alleged that Sergeant Solova’a Mageo, the watch commander, assigned the Ace Hardware case to Officer Seloti and Officer Sai. 

Court filings state that Sgt Mageo gave the Nano Ipod to Seloti with the instructions to fill out a property report and turn it into the Evidence Custodian.

It’s alleged that when Detective Vaina Vaofanua with the Criminal Investigation Division interviewed Officer Seloti, the officer allegedly confirmed that he had received the Nano IPOD from his watch commander, took it home, and did not prepare a property report on it.

According to the government’s case the total value of the two IPODs is $278.99. Pre-trial conference for Officer Seloti is scheduled on June 6, 2012.

(Samoan version of this story appeared in the Samoa News, Tuesday, May 09, 2012, under :Tala o Fa’amasinoga, TALIA SELOTI, and can also be found on samoanews.com)



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