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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

DISTRICT COURT CONFINEMENTS OVER THE WEEKEND

The second weekend since the Department of Public Safety’s Holiday enforcement has been a busy one for the more than 50 police officers involved in enforcement and road blocks in undesignated areas. Police officers have made multiple arrests for public peace disturbance (PPD) cases and driving while intoxicated.

By Monday, a total of 15 new arrests had been made by police on the weekend. Five PPD’s — Mikaele Seui, Pai Titio, Roache Wallace, Mosese Alone and Loretta Selesele, while seven were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol — Nimoai Jr Ifo, Vaise Faumui, Simona Aoatoa, Sala McMoore, Benjamin Tautolo, Agaoleatu Tautolo and Keegan Tranquillo. Three juveniles were held at the Juvenile Detention Center.

Other who made their appearances in District Court were cases where the government is looking at filing additional charges. Among the cases in court for status hearings was the government’s case against Samoan artist, Fouvale Dopson also known as Master Sony, who came to the territory on a 30-day permit for a visit during the holidays.

Master Sony is held on bail of $1,000, on charges of public peace disturbance in two separate cases. According to the government’s case, within three days since his arrival in the territory, Master Sony was arrested for his first PPD case.

Upon making his initial appearance in District Court, he was released on his own recognizance. A week after he was released, the defendant was again arrested in another PPD case.

The government’s second case against Master Sony alleges that police received a call from the defendant’s mother who contacted police for assistance regarding her son, who was making unreasonable noises in front of her house.

In this second case, in addition to the PPD count, the defendant is also charged with resisting arrest, and both counts are misdemeanors. Court filings state that upon arrival at the defendant’s mother’s residence in Aua, the police observed a large crowd.

The defendant’s mother told police to remove her son, because other youth in the village who were also intoxicated were upset with the defendant. Court filings state that the defendant resisted arrest by moving away from police officers. This matter is pending before the District Court. 

FAGA’ALU MAN FACING FELONY CHARGE FOR TAKING THREE DOLLARS

A man accused of removing three dollars from the pockets of a 14-year-old is now charged with second degree robbery, misdemeanor stealing and public peace disturbance. Kennedy Sasala, held on bail of $10,000. made his initial appearance in the District Court on Monday.

The robbery charge is a class B felony which carries a jail term from five to 15 years in jail, the stealing and PPD counts are misdemeanors and are both punishable with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

Court filings say that police spoke with the victim, who claims that his mother gave him $30 to buy his speaker, and when he was in front of a store in Faga’alu the defendant approached him and asked him for money.

It’s alleged the defendant threatened to beat up the victim if he didn’t give him money and the victim did not respond. Court filings say Sasala reached into the victim’s pockets and pulled out the money, and took $3 from the victim’s $30 and placed the rest back into the victim’s pockets.

It’s alleged the victim ran home and told his mother what happened. On the same day of the alleged incident, police approached the defendant at Faga’alu Park in a drinking session. 

Sasala denied having stolen the victim’s money, claiming the victim was a liar. Court filings state police asked Sasala if he had anything in his pockets.

Court filing says Sasala pulled out several items from his pockets, including three dollars which he said was the victim’s money. The defendant is scheduled to have his preliminary examination later this week.

SIAULAIGA FACES ADDITIONAL CHARGE OF ESCAPE IN ADDITION TO HOMICIDE COUNT

Fa’afetai Siaulaiga, charged last week as one of the four defendants in connection with the murder of Sio Faumui back in 2011 in Malaeimi, is now facing an additional charge of escaping from confinement. The new criminal count filed against Fa’afetai follows allegations that after his initial appearance he escaped from police custody at the District Court.

The escape charge is a class D felony, punishable up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

Court filings state that on December 24, 2012 it was mandated for Fa’afetai to post bail of $15,000 before being released for the homicide case he’s charged in, however the defendant fled.

It’s alleged the defendant made it to Faganeaena by bus and when he was pursued by police officers he exited the bus and ran up to the mountains of Faganeanea. A resident of Faganeanea contacted police and reported seeing the defendant get into a red Suzuki in Avau. He was later apprehended at the police roadblock in Nu’uuli.  

The defendant was questioned by police after he was warned of his constitutional rights. Fa’afetai said when he exited the court house, he only thought about his family and wanting to spend Christmas with them and that’s why he boarded the bus heading to Pava’ia’i.

He told police that he only wanted to go home for Christmas and would return to court on Wednesday.

Fa’afetai Siaulaiga will be the fourth defendant charged in this case.

Other co-defendants are Ne’emia Poamo, Sefo Siaulaiga and Migo Misa, whose cases are pending before the High Court for sentencing.

Fa’afetai is charged with criminally negligent homicide, a class D felony punishable with up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both. Fa’afetai made his initial appearance in District Court on Monday and is being held on bail of $25,000.

The first case against the defendant was filed after the government received new information that Fa’afetai was also seen at the scene of the crime on the day Sio was brutally beaten to death.

The investigating officer was provided with written statements from two witnesses who both told the Public Defender's office where they had seen Fa’afetai.

The government claims the two witnesses told police that on June 4, 2011 they were in Malaeimi across the street from where the incident occurred when they both saw the defendant running towards them while wearing a shirt covered with blood and his hands also had blood on them.



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