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Court Report

fili@samoanews.com

POLICE STILL LOOKING FOR SUSPECT IN CONTAINER FIRE CASE

It’s now going on three weeks and investigators with the Department of Public Safety have yet to identity a suspect or suspects in a fire that partly gutted a container of merchandise belonging to the H & H store in Pago Pago.

The container included campaign t-shirts for the gubernatorial team of Faoa and Taufete’e, which was among the merchandise destroyed by the fire and Samoa News has learned that this case, along with issues pertaining to the defacing and destroying of campaign signs, has become an issue of discussion among people involved in gubernatorial campaigns.

When asked for an update on the burning container case, Deputy Police Commissioner Leseiau Laumoli told Samoa News last week that the police investigation is ongoing and police have not yet identified any culprit(s) in this case.

He said the investigation has been complicated because the surveillance camera for the store was damaged prior to the fire being set, thereby eliminating quick identification of anyone who may have been involved in this incident.

Laumoli is pleading with the community, for anyone who has information on this case to please contact police as soon as possible.

The fire occurred around 4 a.m. on May 1 and a passer-by contacted authorities about the fire.

The owner of the nearby store told Samoa News that the surveillance camera was destroyed before the fire was allegedly set, after the padlock to the container was damaged so it could be opened.

Police are also continuing their investigation into reports from gubernatorial candidates and their supporters regarding campaign signs and boards being defaced, vandalized and destroyed.

PENE WELLS

Attorney for defendant Pene Wells is hopeful that by this Friday both sides will have reached a plea agreement that can be presented to the High Court, as one step closer to resolving this legal matter.

Wells is among the five Nu’uuli Rugby players who were charged with the beating of  Samoa based referee Ponifasio Vasia during a rugby match July 23 last year at the Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Wells appeared in court last week for his case but his attorney, Public Defender Ruth Risch-Fuatagavi requested a continuance, since both sides have reached a plea agreement with only a few minor issues to be ironed out with the government.

Wells is charged with first degree assault, a felony, and a misdemeanor public peace disturbance.

Other defendants accused in the beating of the referee have reached separate plea agreements with prosecutors. The only case that has been resolved so far is against Selefuti Tago, who pled guilty to third degree assault, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to probation.

(Samoan version of this story appears in today’s issue, under “Tala o Faamasinoga” in Le Lali.)

ARTHUR ‘AFA’ BLAKE

A man facing first degree assault charge for trying to cause injuries to another person by using a machete, returns tomorrow to the High Court where he is expected to enter a guilty plea to the charge.

Arthur ‘Afa’ Blake was scheduled to go on trial today but attorneys for both sides informed the court last week that the defendant is prepared to enter a plea in this case and the court then continued the case to tomorrow.

The charge against Blake stems from an incident in 2010 in which the defendant is alleged to have tried assaulting another person with a machete during a volleyball game. The defendant remains in custody, unable to post bail.

(Samoan version of this story appears in today’s issue, under “Tala o Faamasinoga” in Le Lali.)



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