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Court Report



An inmate incarcerated on robbery charges, who allegedly opened TCF’s unlocked gate and walked outside the jail was arraigned in the High Court yesterday where he denied the charges of escaping from confinement, resisting arrest and public peace disturbance.


Joe Togitogi is represented by Assistant Public Defender, Karen Shelley, while Assistant AG Tony Graf is prosecuting. Arraigned before Acting Associate Justice Elvis Patea, Togitogi entered a plea of not guilty through his attorney.


According to the government’s case, on Nov. 26, 2013, the defendant left the Tafuna Correctional Facility without permission. He had been incarcerated pending a jury trial on felony charges of robbery and unlawful use of a weapon.


Court filings further say the next day, following the defendant leaving jail, then Warden Lumana’i Maifea contacted the Tafuna Substation informing them of the incident and notifying them that correctional officers were able to apprehend Togitogi and his accomplice, Fidelis Taumalua, another inmate.


The government claims the defendant told police, “he went to make a phone call but instead opened the front gate, walked out of the TCF…”




A man who took off in his brother’s vehicle without permission made his initial appearance in the District Court. Sasagi Lagolago, who’s held on bail of $500 has been charged with Public Peace Disturbance.


Court filings say the incident came to light when police received a call from the owner of the vehicle reporting that Lagolago, his brother,  had “escaped” with the victim’s vehicle near the Country Club in Ili’ili and police responded to the call.


Police arrived at the CC parking lot but the victim was not present, and they were informed to proceed to a bus stop in front of the Lupelele Elementary School.


Police proceeded to said bus stop and met with the victim who said his car was parked at the store across the way, and that Lagolago had fled to the back of the store with the car keys.


Court filings say that police spotted him and told him to stop; however the defendant refused and kept on running toward nearby homes. It’s alleged that police finally apprehended the defendant who was hiding in a banana plantation. Court filings say that Lagolago resisted arrest when police officers placed cuffs on his hands.


Upon arriving at the police station, officers attempted to question the defendant. However,  it is alleged Lagolago was overly intoxicated, and his responses were slow and unclear, so he was booked for confinement. It’s unclear if the government intends to file additional charges in this case.