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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

SAMOA BOXER ORDERED TO LEAVE THE TERRITORY

A boxer from Samoa, Aukuso Fa’amanu, who admitted to having sex with a 16-year old girl, was sentenced to leave and remain outside the territory for a period of five years. 

 Initially charged with rape, deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child, Fa’amanu of Fasito’outa, Samoa entered into a plea agreement with the government and later pled guilty to deviate sexual assault, while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges.

Fa’amanu pleaded to the court for a chance to return home to Samoa to continue his service for his parents, his village and his church and also to pursue his talent as a boxer.

“I am truly remorseful, it’s new to me waking up every day in a prison and looking at a wall, I’m hungry the majority of the time and being in jail for a long period of time has taught me a huge lesson,” said Fa’amanu.

Public Defender Ruth Risch Fuatagavi noted that Fa’amanu, who has no prior record, has been incarcerated for over nine months and is truly remorseful. She also cited the pre-sentence report which states the victim and her family does not wish for the defendant to be incarcerated for a lengthy period of time.

She explained that Fa’amanu was under the understanding this was a girlfriend and boyfriend relationship, however the victim is 16 years old.

Fuatagavi asked the court to sentence the defendant on a probated sentence. She added that someone (American Samoa Boxing Federation) is willing to pay his fare to return to Samoa as part of his probation.

Prosecuting Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop noted that Fa’amanu, who was intoxicated at the time of the incident, blamed alcohol however the victim was 16 years old, which should have been obvious to the defendant.

Jessop said the government does not object to a probated sentence however the detention is also warranted.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse sentenced Fa’amanu to seven years in jail, with execution of sentencing suspended and placed on seven years probation with conditions. Fa’amanu was also ordered to serve 28 months, however the jail term will be stayed upon his return back to Samoa.

Kruse ordered Warden Lumana’i Maifea not to release the defendant from detention, unless he’s taken to the airport or the wharf, for departure. Members of the American Samoa Boxing Federation were present during the defendant’s sentencing hearing.

MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ASSAULTING WOMAN OVER A ROSARY

A man accused of striking a female with a beer bottle over a rosary, entered into a plea agreement in the High Court yesterday morning.

Under the plea agreement, Mareko Malaefono Lemafa 33, who was charged with second degree assault and public peace disturbance and on $5,000 bail, pled guilty to second degree assault while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charge.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse informed Lemafa that despite recommendations by both parties, if the court renders sentencing that is harsher Lemafa may not come back and ask the court to withdraw his guilty plea.

After Lemafa said he fully understood rendering his guilty plea, Kruse accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing on October 26, 2012.

According to the government’s case police received a call from a woman saying the defendant threw a beer bottle which landed on her face.

Court filings say the victim suffered a cracked tooth, a swollen lip, and a bruised chin. The victim told police she had pleaded with the defendant to return her rosary, however the defendant got angry and threw the beer bottle at her.

SUPPRESSION MOTION BY RETIRED POST EMPLOYEE UNDER ADVISEMENT

Chief Justice Michael Kruse yesterday took under advisement a suppression motion filed by Nikolao Fa’asala a retired Post Office employee through his lawyer Mark Ude.

Ude told the court the government is intending to use evidence from the defendant’s disciplinary file, noting that such usage of the defendant’s disciplinary file is not authorized under the agreement set forth in the Agreement between the United States Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO 2006-20010.

Ude stated he could not find a case law of a similar situation of a post office employee to support his motion.

Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna asked the court to deny the motion, saying that it is based on no case law and government did not respond because this motion was poorly written.

Fa’asala is accused of stealing in 2009 money and postage stamps belonging to the Post Office. He is charged with embezzlement, stealing and responsibility for the conduct of another to commit forgery. He’s out on bond of $5,000.

According to the government’s case, the federal government investigated this matter and it was referred to the Attorney General’s office for prosecution.



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