Login

Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

COURT DENIES BAIL FOR MAN CHARGED WITH CHILD MOLESTATION

The court has denied bail for a 49-year-old man charged with a sexually related count involving a seven-year old girl, given his immigration status is illegal.

Faalogo Fiapito who lived in Pavaia’i has been charged with one count of child molestation, a class A felony punishable by imprisonment for life, or from ten to thirty years in jail with a mandatory minimum prison term of ten years without probation or parole, while the endangering charge is a class A misdemeanor punishable with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

The defendant was arraigned in the High Court yesterday before Chief Justice Michael Kruse where he denied the criminal charges against him. According to the government’s case, on Jan. 20, 2013 a man requested assistance from police regarding his seven-year-old daughter who was allegedly sexually abused by the defendant.

It’s alleged that on the same day, Police Officer AJ Tagoa’i was assigned to investigate this case. Tagoa’i was accompanied by a female police officer when speaking to the girl.

Court filings say the victim was on her way to the bathroom when the defendant came up to her and grabbed her hand, pulling her to the back of the house. Faapito is the victim's neighbor.

It's alleged the defendant told the girl to go with him to the banana plantation, but the victim refused, however the defendant did not stop. When the victim and the defendant arrived at the plantation the defendant pulled down his pants and then he pulled down the victim’s pants and forcibly kissed the seven-year-old and started touching the victim on her private parts.

Later the the victim heard her brother calling her name and it was then the defendant took off running. The victim went home and told her grandmother about what had allegedly occurred and that’s when the family of the victim sought help from the authorities.

Police on the day in question went to where the defendant was staying and arrested him. It's alleged police smelled a strong odor of alcohol emitting from Fa’apito’s breath.

The defendant through his lawyer Assistant Public Defender Mike White, asked the court for a pre-trial conference in 45 days. The Chief Justice set pre-trial date for this case on March 11, 2013. Prosecuting this case is Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop.

VAIMAGALO GETS ONE YEAR ADDED TO 12-YEAR SENTENCE

A repeat offender accused of escaping from prison while serving a long term jail sentence has had another year added to his 12-year sentence from two previous cases for which he was convicted.

In this case the defendant pleaded guilty to escape from confinement. The escape count is a class D felony punishable by up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

The defendant said in court that he had been mowing the lawn at TCF and afterwards, when they headed into their unit at the Tafuna Correctional Facility, that’s when he escaped jail. The defendant apologized for his actions to the court and the government. Assistant Attorney General Julie Pasquale recommended that the defendant be sentenced to five years consecutive or five years concurrent.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond sentenced the defendant to one year in jail and this is to run consecutively, which adds one year to his jail sentence.

According to the government’s case, on July 26, 2010 then Warden Moliga reported that inmate Vaimagalo has escaped from the Tafuna Correctional Facility.

Former inmate Romeo Peretania told police that on the day in question he received a call from Vaimagalo asking him for money and Vaimagalo said he was on his way to Peretania’s work place. After the phone call, Peretania contacted the TCF, informing the correction officers that Vaimagalo had escaped from jail.

The government claims the defendant told the witness that he escaped from the TCF to kill Chief Justice Michael Kruse for always adding years to his sentence. Court filings state that Vaimagalo said he was going to get a gun from a friend in Faleniu.

A witness contacted correction officers with the time and place where the police could apprehend the defendant.

FORMER POST OFFICE EMPLOYEE CASE NOW SET FOR JURY TRIAL

Chief Justice Michael Kruse has scheduled a jury trial in the case of retired Post Office employee Nikolao Faasala, who’s facing criminal charges in connection with the alleged theft of money and postage stamps belonging to the Post Office back in 2009. Fa’asala is facing charges of embezzlement, stealing and responsibility for the conduct of another to commit forgery.

The defendant is out on bail of $3,500 and is represented by Mark Ude while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.

According to the government’s case the investigation was conducted by the Federal government which was referred to the Attorney General’s office for local prosecution. In the report that was handed to the AG’s office, it is alleged that the defendant stole money and postage stamps from the Post office from January to September 2009.

According to the government’s case the defendant removed $1,800 in cash and stamps from his drawer from January to March 2009.

Honolulu Postmaster Russell was asked to make periodic visits to the Post office in the territory to conduct audits and on Sept. 08, 2009 Russell audited the defendant’s drawer and discovered a shortage of $2,977.06, say court filings.

It’s alleged that after two days Russell interviewed the defendant and he admitted to taking the money and stamps from his own drawer.

On Sept. 11, 2009 Special Agent Kevin Shimoda with the Office of the Inspector General initiated the investigation and a “Letter of Demand for Indebtedness for Employee Accountable Credit Shortage”. This letter notified the defendant the Postal Service was intent on collecting $2,977.06 and the Postal Service had already received the payment in the amount of $2,9977.06 from the defendant.

TEA CUP ASSAULT CASE TO BE SETTLED WITH PLEA AGREEMENT

An assault case against Edwin Atonio will be be settled with a plea deal, said prosecutor Assistant Attorney General Julie Pasquale when the defendant was in court for his pre-trial conference. Additional time is needed for this matter. Atonio 19, of Ili’ili is accused of striking another man with a tea cup, causing a severe cut on the victim’s face.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the request and continued the pre-trial conference in this case to Feb. 11, 2013.

According to the government’s case, the defendant was in a drinking session with the victim, when the victim confronted him about stealing his iPOD. It’s alleged the victim punched the defendant, who responded by hitting the victim with a tea cup.

It’s alleged the defendant left the scene and went to his house and returned with a machete, however when the defendant saw the victim’s family members he threw the machete into the bushes near the area.

Police arrested the defendant and confiscated the tea cup and the machete involved. The victim was transported to LBJ hospital where he was admitted for an emergency operation due to the severity of the cut on his face.



THE NEW COMMENTS PROCESS

To make comments, you will need to register. You can register under your real name or use a 'screen' name. This way, people will be able to follow comments and make comments back and forth to each other. If you choose to use a 'screen name' no one will know your true identity. In either case, no email addresses will be available to anyone. It is an automated process. If you have questions, email: webmaster@samoanews.com

You currently are not logged in, please LOGIN to post comments.