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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

MIKE SALA’S DUI CASE REFERRED TO INDEPENDENT PROSECUTOR

The government’s case against Mike Sala, former Director of the Homeland Security, has been assigned to the Independent Prosecutor says Assistant Attorney General Mas Uchino. Sala is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and careless driving. The citations issued stem from an alleged accident wherein Sala side swiped a pedestrian in Lauli’i.

The government claims the defendant was under the influence of alcohol and was behind the wheel when the incident occurred.

Samoa News contacted Uchino inquiring as to why this case has to be transferred to the IP, and as of news time the prosecutor had yet to respond.

Sala told Samoa News that an oncoming vehicle was on his side of the road and he avoided what would have been a more severe accident if he hadn’t been paying attention. He said after the incident he went back to check on the guy, who was ok, and after a while the cops came looking for him, while he was with some friends near his house.

PEDRO LUTERU IN HIGH COURT ON SIX CRIMINAL CHARGES

The government has filed six criminal charges against the defendant following an incident on January 19, 2013. Pedro Luteru is charged with two counts of third degree assault, public peace disturbance and three charges of property damage.

One property damage count is a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of $5,000 while all the five remaining charges are class A misdemeanors, punishable by imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of $1,000.

According to the government’s case on January 19, 2013 a woman reported to police that the defendant was threatening to slash her children with a machete because they had allegedly stolen his puppies.

It’s alleged a few minutes later, police received another call noting that the defendant slashed some of the banana trees growing in her front yard. Police responded to the call and the defendant took off on foot after hitting the police vehicle with his machete.

Court filings say the defendant caused damage to the police vehicle and shattered one of the windows. The estimated damaged to the vehicle is over $1,000. It's alleged when the glass of the police vehicle shattered it injured one of the police officers.

Court filings say, the officer sustained a minor laceration below his right ear and minor scratches on his face. Shortly thereafter, police received another call that the defendant was on a road leading to a residence and he had cut down two of the village aumaga’s curfew bells and then finally the defendant was detained by the village police, the aumaga.

Court filings say the defendant was under the influence of alcohol when he was taken into police custody.

FUAMOLI VAISAGOTE ENTERS PLEA OF NOT GUILTY

Fuamoli Vaisagote a former employee of GHC Reid, accused of removing close to $5,000 from the company’s deposit bag was arraigned in High Court yesterday morning. She’s facing a single count of embezzlement.

Vaisagote who’s in jail with bail set at $10,000 is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin. Prosecuting the government in this case is Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse presided over the hearing yesterday morning, where Vaisagote denied the charges against her. According to the government’s case, on April 13, 2011 one of the manager’s of GHC Reid noticed that their company deposit of $24,972.58 had not been deposited into their company account the night before.

Court filings say, Vaisagote signed a promissory note admitting to her guilt and the funds she stole, and promising to make restitution.

Court filings say, per the promissory note, the defendant promised to repay $4,850.10 to GHC Reid in monthly increments. The government claims numerous attempts to locate and interview the defendant proved unsuccessful. The government claims the defendant has only made two payments on the promissory note to GHC Reid, totaling $110.



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