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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

REV. EMAU AMOSA APPEARS IN COURT

Former LBJ hospital employee and Congregational Christian Church of Jesus in Samoa’s, Reverend Emau Amosa appeared in the District Court on Tuesday on allegations that he threatened the LBJ Chief Financial Officer Viola Babcock.

Rev. Emau is charged with public peace disturbance, and he has pled not guilty.

According to the government’s case the incident stemmed from a meeting that took place in the LBJ hospital, February 17, 2012.

Babcock told police she was having a meeting with the Rev. Amosa concerning his work performance at the hospital when the defendant allegedly told Babcock that he would send “his family to kill her”, states the court affidavit.

It notes that the Babcock contacted the hospital’s legal counsel at the time, Kevin Kornegay, for assistance in the matter.

“Defendant said that he is a very important high chief of his family and families of high chiefs protect their own by killing people that harass their chiefs,” the court filing states.

According to the government’s case the defendant admitted to police on tape that he made threatening remarks and he had not apologized to the victim. It’s alleged immediately after the incident, the victim contacted her supervisors at the hospital regarding the matter.

Babcock also contacted Security at the hospital and changed the security code to the door of her office. She also changed the set-up security plan at her residence. According to the government’s case the matter was reported to police seven days after the alleged incident occurred.  

Rev. Amosa’s case was continued upon his lawyer’s request to review the audio tape that is in the government’s criminal complaint.

HIGH COURT ACCEPTS PLEA FROM MATTHEW YANDALL

Matthew Yandall will be sentenced on July 26, 2012 following his plea agreement yesterday before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.

Matthew Yandall was initially charged with felonious restraint, second-degree assault and private peace disturbance in connection with the assault of his girlfriend.

Yesterday Yandall pleaded guilty to private peace disturbance, false imprisonment and third degree assault. The false imprisonment was amended from felonious restraint, while the third degree assault was amended from second degree assault.

According to the plea deal, upon Yandall’s guilty plea he admits that on or about December 19, 2011, he unreasonably and purposely caused alarm to his neighbors and the victim, committing the crime of Private Peace Disturbance.

Yandall also admits that he knowingly restrained the victim unlawfully and without her consent, and substantially interfered with her liberty by forcing her to sit down onto a chair.

When the victim tried to get up to get away from him, Yandall restrained her by grabbing and ripping her shirt and pulling her hair. Defendant also admits that he recklessly caused serious physical injury to the victim, by beating her until she lost consciousness.

The victim sustained bruises on her face, including a broken nose and she also sustained bruises all over her body. According to the plea agreement, the defendant’s conduct was without legal justification or excuse.

Associate Justice Richmond told the defendant if the court accepts the plea and imposes a different sentence than that recommended by counsel, he will not be allowed to withdraw his plea of guilty. The defendant noted he understood.

The Associate Justice accepted the plea agreement. Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin is representing the defendant while prosecuting is Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop.

RAPE CHARGES AGAINST SIOTALIMA DISMISSED  

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr accepted a plea deal between the government and Siloma Siotalima.

Siotalima is charged with five counts of rape, deviate sexual assault, first degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Yesterday the defendant pleaded guilty to deviate sexual assault while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges.

According to the plea agreement that was read in open court, the defendant admits that on a date between July - November, 2011 he had deviate sexual intercourse with a girl under 16 years old.

According to the plea agreement the defendant’s conduct was without legal justification or excuse.

Richmond told the defendant it’s the court’s sole responsibility for determining an appropriate sentence within the limit of the law, and if the court accepts his guilty plea and the court imposes a different sentence than recommended by counsel, he will not be allowed to withdraw his plea of guilty. The defendant said he understood.

Sentencing for Siotalima is scheduled on July 21, 2012. Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin is representing the defendant while prosecuting is Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop.

PENIAMINA OPETAIA RECEIVES PLEA IN SEX CASE

Peniamina Opetaia—charged in connection with a sexual case involving a 16 year old girl who was impregnated as a result of the alleged sexual acts — has received a plea deal offer from the government.

The matter was presided over by Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.

Assistant Public Defender Mike White told the court he has received the plea deal and has reviewed it with the defendant, however he has yet to file it with the High Court.

Opetaia is charged together with the victim’s uncle, which Samoa News cannot name to protect the identity of the victim.

Opetaia is charged with rape, sexual abuse first degree and endangering the welfare of a child. According to the government’s case, this came to light when a relative of the victim filed a complaint with CID on February 27, 2012.

The relative who reported the matter to police accused the Uncle as the one who got the 16-year-old girl pregnant. It’s alleged that when police questioned the victim, she told police she had sexual intercourse with two men, her neighbor Opetaia and her uncle, the High Chief of the family.

The government claims Opetaia admitted to police that he met the victim in October 2011 but he did not have sex with her until December 2011 up to January 2012.

The Uncle’s case is also pending in the High Court. According to court filings the victim told police she also had sexual relationship with the 62-year-old man.

Court filing states that the uncle instructed the victim not to say anything to anyone regarding the alleged sexual acts. The Uncle refused to make a statement to police.

The court filing also noted that the Uncle involved in this matter is a former teacher who was also convicted of sexual assault case in September 1997.



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