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Sentencing for fisherman rescheduled

reporters@samoanews.com

Drug defendant Hefa Vahe was scheduled to be sentenced last week Friday however when his case was called the court was told the defendant is still out at sea fishing. Vahe, a Tongan National, is a fisherman charged in connection with a drug case.  

Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin, who represents the defendant said Vahe is still out fishing.

Kruse told the defense lawyer the defendant is due for sentencing and he’s also out on bail. “You suggest the court works around his fishing vessel?” Kruse asked the defense lawyer.

The Assistant Public Defender reminded the Chief Justice that when Vahe entered his guilty plea, the court had allowed him to go back out fishing with the understanding that if the vessel did not return in time for the June 1 court date, counsel must notify the court prior to the date.

Cardin had already filed a motion to continue this case, advising the court the vessel had not yet returned, and asking that the matter be continued for at least 45 days.

Kruse ordered the defendant to subpoena the shipping agent to appear before the court to explain the whereabouts of the fishing vessel in question. The status hearing will he held this coming Friday.

Vahe faced one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, to which he pled guilty.

He was one of three co-defendants in connection with this case.



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