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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

14 ARRESTED FOR DUI & PPD OVER WEEKEND

 The District Court was filled with people arrested over the weekend for driving under the influence, underage drinking and public peace disturbance cases.

The Department of Public Safety officers arrested 14 people for driving under the influence alcohol, another 14 for public peace disturbance and four juveniles were arrested for PPD and underage drinking.

Among those arrested over the weekend was an employee of Procurement Office, Pulemau Pa’aga, who was operating government vehicle PO9 while under the influence of alcohol.

The government vehicle has since been impounded at the Police Impound Area in Tafuna. Pa’aga is charged with DUI, PPD, careless driving and other traffic citations.

Police also arrested Court Marshal Maua Tupua, who police claimed was the victim of an altercation outside of the Bowling alley Saturday evening, where Tupua was told by officers to go home following the incident.

The government claims however that Tupua, upon exiting the police station, made comments about the police officers that arrested him. The court affidavit says that Tupua allegedly said who does the officer think he is, trying to lock up the Marshal. It’s alleged the Marshal further stated to the police officer, wait when he comes to his courthouse (where Tupua works as a Court Marshal).

Accused of disturbing the peace and swearing at police officers Saturday evening, Tupua is charged with public peace disturbance.

According to the court calendar those arrested for DUI were, Eteva Tautu, Ali’itia Vea, Yan Xiaoyong, Bernard Aileone, Percival Faumui, Tony Langkilde, Faitaua Maugalei, Paulo Tonga, Talaia Lemana, Lisone Amaama, Tauese Sofala, Fa’amaite Fa’atau, Halo Palau and Mavaega Tuitea.

Those arrested for Public Peace Disturbances were Malala Lautaimi, Kilisi Taope, So’osemea Amouta, Felix Patea, Fa’aiu Fiu, Junior Ala,Shashi, Alfred Kalapu, Mataese Tafua, and Siaosi Taiao.

 Four juveniles were also arrested for PPD and underage drinking.

GRANDFATHER FIGHTS CASE OF INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING

A grandfather accused of inappropriate touching is fighting the allegations against him in trial. Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim.   According to the government’s case, the defendant is accused of inappropriately touching his 13-year-old granddaughter.

The defendant is charged with one count each of sodomy - a class B felony punishable  by five to 15 years; deviate sexual assault – a class C felony, punishable by up to seven years in jail, a $5,000 fine or both; and sexual abuse in the first degree - a class D felony, punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine or both.

The grandfather is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of $1,000 or both.

This matter was called for a pre-trial conference and Assistant Public Defender Mike White informed the court, they have yet to come to a resolution on this matter and they are not moving to have this case go forward to trial.

According to the government’s case the victim told an investigator that she shares a bed with her grandfather, and in December 2010, the defendant began touching the victim in a sexual manner, the government alleges.

The victim also told police that since that day back in December, the defendant continued to touch her in the same sexual manner until February this year, the government alleges.

The victim eventually reported the matter to her school counselor, who questioned her about a prolonged absence from school. The defendant, who has been in custody since his arrest back in May 2012, is held on a $30,000 bail.

ONGOING PLEA NEGOTIATIONS IN POLYNESIAN AIR EMBEZZLEMENT CASE

Another pre-trial date has been set in the government’s case against former Polynesian Airline employee charged with embezzlement, due to ongoing plea negotiations. Judy Mata’utia is alleged to have embezzled more than $10,000 in money belonging to the carrier, which is owned by the Samoa government.

According to the government the defendant is also charged with one count of passing bad checks by writing six checks from her personal bank account, which had already been closed. The checks, made out to Polynesian Airlines, were allegedly used to balance some of the cash that she allegedly took from the deposits.

Assistant Public Defender Mike White asked the court for a 30 days continuance given that there are still ongoing negotiations that will likely come to a resolution soon.

According to court documents, defendant Mata’utia was acting area manager for Polynesian Airlines’ office in Pago Pago between March and October of 2010, when the crime allegedly occurred before she was terminated.

Matautia is facing one count of embezzlement for the alleged misappropriation of about $11,380 that passengers had paid to the airline for travel. Punishment for embezzlement, a class C felony, is up to seven years imprisonment, a fine of $5,000 or a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both fine and imprisonment.

The government alleges the defendant used the money for herself after fabricating bank deposit slips and forwarding those deposit records to the airline’s Apia office, where the discrepancies were discovered. The airline’s main office was able to obtain bank records and statements during its probe.

A seven-page court affidavit outlines dates and amounts of money involved in each discrepancy.



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