DRUG DEFENDANT FROM SAMOA HELD ON $30K BAIL
Faletoi Fetuaso Sevi from Lauli’i, Samoa, a passenger on the Lady Naomi who allegedly hand carried marijuana into the territory, is being held on bail of $30,000. He’s charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, with intent to distribute and unlawful possession of marijuana. If convicted on both charges he’s looking at serving 25 years in jail, with a fine of $25,000.
Sevi made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday where he entered a plea of not guilty. His preliminary examination hearing is scheduled for today, where the court will determine if the government has sufficient evidence to have this case bound over to the high court.
According to the government’s case, Vice and Narcotics Division with the Department of Public Safety received a call from Customs Agents that canine Grace alerted near the defendant who was in the immigration line. It’s alleged that when a pat down search was conducted, Customs came across two bulges on the defendant’s hip and leg. The defendant removed his shorts and police observed two taped bundles around his left knee, a small bundle located on his hip and a third bundle inside his pockets.
Police uncovered 230 hand rolled marijuana joints and several bundles of dried marijuana leaves. Court filings say police conducted testing and found the leafy substance to be marijuana.
The government’s case claims the defendant told police he was delivering the joints to someone in the territory. It is also alleged Sevi told police that he met with this individual at the Lions Park in August and they made a deal for Sevi to transport marijuana over, and upon delivery Sevi would be paid, say court filings.
SENTENCING OF FORMER COP POSTPONED SIX MONTHS
Chief Justice Michael Kruse postponed the sentencing of former Police Officer, Fiti Aina for another six months. The court did not specify the reason for this decision, however this was a result of a meeting in chambers between the Chief Justice and the Prosecutor Tony Graf, along with defense attorney Fiti Sunia, and defendant Aina.
Aina was one of two police officers charged on allegations they allowed inmates at the TCF to go on a beer run to a nearby store. He has pled guilty to permitting escape.
Aina and fellow officer Rocky Tua were arrested last July and were out on bail of $15,000 on charges of aiding the escape of a prisoner, permitting escape, and public servant acceding to corruption. Aina pled guilty to permitting escape and the remaining charges were dismissed, however Tua fought his case before a jury, and he was acquitted of all charges following a three- day jury trial.
Prior to the chamber meeting, Aina apologized for his actions, noting he failed to carry out the oath that he had sworn to uphold. He said he also failed the oath “made to my wife and children, which has led me before the court.”
Aina noted that he’s remorseful for his actions, and asked the court for another chance, pointing out his household consists of him and his wife and their three children.
He further stated his wife just started working while he stays home and looks after their three minor children. Aina also noted this was his request however he will accept whatever the court decides. His wife also took the stand and pleaded with the court to allow her husband a second chance, as she just started working as a teacher.
Sunia, who spoke on behalf of Aina pointed out the defendant is a good candidate for probation, given he’s a first time offender and he’s a contributing member of society. Sunia also stated that Aina took full responsibility for his actions and he didn’t place the blame on anyone but himself.
Sunia further stated that Aina has offered to voluntarily assist the government in efforts to fix the ongoing problems at the Tafuna Correctional Facility.
The charges were filed in this case after a raid of the prison by police uncovered numerous contraband items including beer bottles, a flat screen TV, screwdrivers, tools, fans, and cell phones — all of which were seized by CID detectives using two large police trucks.
JURY TRIAL IN ELIOTA SR SIAUMAU’S CASE UNDERWAY
A jury trial is underway in the government’s case filed against Eliota Siaumau Sr in connection with an incident that occurred two years ago. Siaumau Sr is charged with second degree assault, a class D felony punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of $5,000 or both.
The charges stem from allegations that the defendant assaulted a young man in a night club back in 2010. The case was only filed last year. The defendant is represented by Sharron Rancourt while prosecuting for the government is Assistant AG Camille Philippe.
According to the government’s case, on May 15, 2010, police were called on a Public Peace Disturbance incident at the Taps Night Club operating at the time in Fogagogo, where one witness told police the defendant and his son, approached one of the witnesses, asking where the victim was from.
According to court filings the defendant’s son confronted the victim on the dance floor and a fight ensued involving multiple persons.
It's alleged that during the fist fight, Siaumau, Sr. grabbed the victim and both he and his son continued to assault the victim by punching and kicking him while he was on the ground. Yesterday the court selected members of the jury with the hearing continuing today.
COURT GRANTS STIPULATION FOR DISMISSAL IN CASE OF LOPA AND SATELE
The Lands and Title’s Division of the Court has dismissed the lawsuit filed by Availopa “Lopa” Seti against Paramount Chief Satele Galu Teutusi Satele and Tauiagamoa Tavai.
The lawsuit, which had been filed by Lopa, sought for the High Court to order Satele to account for the $20,000 entrusted in his custody from the Western District Capital Improvement Fund (CIP) spent by him, his wife Joyita and their son Galu Satele.
Satele is represented by Matailupe Leupolu while Lopa’s lawyer is Fiti Sunia.
According to the lawsuit Lopa was banned from the Vailoa Village Council, after which he filed a lawsuit seeking declaratory judgment and for injunctive and other relief against Satele, who is Secretary of Samoan Affairs, and Tuiagamoa Tavai, Deputy Secretary of Samoa Affairs.
The 10-page lawsuit filed had six counts — Accounting, Negligent Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion, Defamation, Civil Conspiracy and Declaratory Judgment. In response, Satele filed a dismissal motion through his attorney pointing out the lawsuit filed has lack of subject matter jurisdiction and no matter how the plaintiff tries to stretch this matter for the court to attain subject matter jurisdiction, it remains clear he does not allege sufficient facts to give the court subject matter jurisdiction.
Last week, the parties in this case, Satele and Lopa, through their attorneys, filed a stipulation to dismiss the matter without prejudice and Chief Justice Michael Kruse granted the motion.
Lopa has told Samoa News they will re-file the case.
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