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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

MAN CHARGED IN ALLEGED FIGHT IN FRONT OF FAMILY MART

Police have arrested and charged a man following a fight in front of the Family Mart in Nu’uuli last week. Mike Atonio is charged with second degree assault, a class D felony, punishable with up to five years in prison, a fine of $5,000, or both fine and jail time, and public peace disturbance, a class B misdemeanor which carries a jail term of up to six months, a fine of $500, or both.  

Atonio made his initial appearance in District Court yesterday morning. In the government’s case, the victim alleges that he was walking to the store with his nephew when he saw someone he wanted to speak with, and that person was sitting and drinking with a group of guys.

It’s alleged the victim called out to the person he wanted to speak with, when he was surprised when he was struck in the head with a beer bottle. The victim told police he became dizzy and noticed his head was bleeding. 

Court filings state police interviewed the defendant and he said he was hanging out and drinking in front of the Family Mart store with some friends when he saw the victim punch two men.

The defendant said the victim started to pick a fight with him and another guy and the victim grabbed the defendant’s shirt along the waistline. The defendant further told police that he felt that the victim was concealing a gun tucked in his shorts and the victim was making threats toward the defendant and another guy. He said it was because the victim kept reaching for his shorts.

The defendant said he got scared, so he hit the victim over the head with a beer bottle and took off home. 

According to the government’s case, the investigating officer, Lawrence Sagapolutele, again interviewed the victim, whereby the victim said his shorts didn’t have a belt, so that is why he kept grabbing his shorts and that he did not have a gun and he never tried to make it look like he had a gun. The victim sustained a laceration to his head that required five stitches. 

FIAIFA “HAPPY” MATA’U IN COURT FOR VIOLATION OF PROBATION

Fiafia Mata’u appeared in the District Court yesterday morning for violation of probation. The defendant was sentenced to two years probation following his conviction of third degree assault after he admitted to poking a young girl’s behind while he was under the influence of alcohol at the Market Place two months ago.

One of the conditions of his probation is that he must not consume alcohol within the two year period in addition to remaining a law abiding citizen and visiting the probation office regularly.

Mata’u spent the weekend in jail after he was caught by a probation officer last week consuming alcohol at the boat house in Fagatogo, behind the market place.

District Court Judge John Ward had released the defendant from jail and warned him that he would be jailed for two years, if he violated any condition of his probation within the two year time frame. Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement represents him while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Julie Pasquale.

ALLEGED WIFE BEATER ENTERS PLEA OF NOT GUILTY

A man who was reported to police by his wife two years ago for allegedly assaulting her, has finally landed in court this week, pleading not guilty to the charges against him. The man, who is accused of beating his wife with an electric fan, was arraigned in the High Court yesterday morning, before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond.

Samoa News has chosen not to name the defendant to protect the identity of the victim in this matter. The defendant is charged with one count of second degree assault in connection with domestic violence.

The 18-inch oscillating electric fan that was used by the defendant has been seized as evidence and taken to the police evidence room.

According to court filings, the defendant came to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) office for questioning. It's alleged that the defendant made a spontaneous remark admitting that he assaulted his wife, but he refused to make a statement.

The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.



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