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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

CASE OF MAN ACCUSED OF DISMANTLING GRAVE IN HIGH COURT

A man accused of dismantling a relative’s gravesite has been charged with property damage, and will be arraigned in High Court today.

Edward Avegalio is facing is a class D felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

Avegalio is scheduled to enter his plea today after he waived his rights to a preliminary examination last week in District Court.

According to the government’s case, the victim is the widow of the deceased, whose gravesite was allegedly damaged by the defendant. The victim filed a complaint with the Department of Public Safety at the West Substation on or about July 22, 2011, and the case resurfaced seven months later when it was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division for investigation.

Court documents state that the investigating officers interviewed four witnesses who told police they saw Avegalio knocking down poles with a sledgehammer while other men were clearing away the lumber and rebar Avegalio had knocked down.

The detectives also interviewed two men, who were with Avegalio at the scene, when he was allegedly damaging the gravesite; and told police all they did was clear up the construction debris from what Avegalio had knocked down.

Avegalio told investigating officers he is the nephew of the landowner of the land on which the gravesite is located; and is quoted in the police affidavit as saying the family did not want anything done to the gravesite until the family had decided, however the family later found out the victim started constructing an overhead cover to the gravesite.

According to court documents, Avegalio’s family told the carpenters to halt the building of the gravesite.

It’s alleged that Avegalio admitted to police he damaged the gravesite by knocking down the cement poles with a 10-pounder hammer. Court documents state that damages are estimated at approximately $3,000 with $1,200 for materials used and $1,800 for the carpenters.

FATHER ACCUSED OF THREATENING HIS DAUGHTER WITH GUN IN HIGH COURT

A man who allegedly threatened his daughter at knife point and then with a gun had his pre-trial conference rescheduled from last Friday to this morning. The man appeared in High Court last Friday before Chief Justice Michael Kruse, however a brief continuance was requested, which was granted by Kruse. Samoa

News is withholding the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim.

The father remains in jail on bail of $3,200 and is facing unlawful use of a weapon, third degree assault, unlawful possession of a firearm, and public peace disturbance.

According to the government’s case the father was upset at his daughter when someone called his cell phone. He asked the daughter who it was, and she said she didn’t know.

Police have confiscated the rifle and the knife that were allegedly used during the incident.

MALAKE GAUTA SCHEDULED FOR PLEA AGREEMENT

A man who’s facing charges after he allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 15-year old girl is scheduled to have his plea agreement before the High Court and presided over by Chief Justice Michael Kruse.

Malake Gauta is facing statutory rape, deviate sexual assault, first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

According to the government’s case, Gauta had a sexual relationship with the 15-year-old girl between July and September last year.  The incident came to light when the girl's mother found the defendant in her house with her daughter and a 17-year-old niece.

Gauta has been in custody of police since 2011 with his bail set at $50,000.



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