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Court Report

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MAN WHO PLED GUILTY PLEA TO INDECENT EXPOSURE ON PROBATION

A man who was charged with indecent exposure on allegations that he performed sexual acts upon himself while watching his sister has been ordered by the court to stay away from his sister. The defendant who was charged with indecent exposure entered into a plea agreement with the government yesterday in the District Court.

Samoa News cannot name the defendant to protect the identity of the victim in this matter. Following his guilty plea the defendant said his brother-in-law beat him up and his pants fell down.

District Court Judge John Ward accepted the plea agreement and sentenced the defendant to 24 months probation, under the conditions that he stays away from his sister and his village.

The defendant was also ordered to undergo alcohol counseling and successfully complete the course and refrain from consuming alcohol while on probation.

According to the government’s case the victim’s husband walked into the bedroom where his wife (the sister of the defendant) and her granddaughter were sleeping and found the defendant naked from the waist down, near the bed close to where the infant was sleeping, masturbating while watching his sister sleeping.

As Samoa News reported last month, when the victim’s husband found the defendant, the husband allegedly assaulted the defendant and they were both arrested on the night in question. The government chose not to charge the husband with criminal, saying his action was justified. However, it was made clear that the government does not tolerate assault, but determined in this case the husband’s actions were justified.

PLEA NEGOTIATIONS ONGOING IN ATTEMPTED MURDER CASE  

A joint recommendation was made by the government and defense in case of Sitau Ofoia Jr for another 30 days continuance due plea negotiations, which are still underway.

Ofoia of Vaitogi is charged with attempted murder second degree, two counts of first degree assault, public peace disturbance and four traffic citations, failure to give information, reckless driving, leaving the scene of the accident and failure to give immediate notice of an accident.

Assistant Public Defender Mike White made the request, which was accepted by Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond.

According to the government’s case on April 8, 2012 police received a call about a man who was lying unconscious on airport road.

Police officers arrived at the scene and saw the victim lying unconscious while he was bleeding from his head. The victim also has an open wound on his back and left leg, says court documents.

It’s alleged Ofoia hit the victim with his vehicle, when the victim fell, the defendant fetched a cricket bat and struck the victim on his head. The victim was taken to the LBJ hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.

According to the government’s case when police interviewed Ofoia, he said he was driving when a male crossed in front of his car instantly and he tried to avoid a collision by swerving, however he struck the young man.

He said when he exited his vehicle he found out it was his brother-in-law. Police impounded the vehicle, along with the bat alleged to have been used in the alleged assault. The new pre-trial date is now set for September 26, 2012.

Ofoia is currently on probation in connection with an assault case in Vaitogi several years back.

MAN ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING WIFE TO FACE ADDITIONAL CHARGES

The government is looking at filing additional charges against a man accused of strangling his wife last week.

Samoa News cannot name the defendant to protect the identity of the victim in this case.

According to the government’s case the victim approached the defendant regarding a photo of him and another woman whom he had impregnated.

It’s alleged the defendant slapped his wife and the woman told her husband that if he hits her again she would contact police. The government claims the defendant then allegedly strangled his wife. The woman thereafter called police and the defendant was arrested.

Court affidavit states when police questioned the defendant he admitted that he assaulted his wife. He is charged with public peace disturbance; however the government intends to file additional charges in this case.  

The defendant was instructed by the District Court Judge John Ward not to contact his wife directly or indirectly.

JURY TRIAL IN RAPE CASE POSTPONED

The High Court has set a new date for a jury trial in the government’s case against a man accused of raping his wife and holding her against her will.

The defendant is charged with rape, first-degree sexual abuse, attempted kidnapping and false imprisonment of his wife.

Samoa News is withholding the defendant’s name to protect the identity of the victim.

The matter was initially set for jury trial this week, however an expedited motion was filed by the defense to have the trial re-set for another date. Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond granted the motion.

The criminal charges are in connection with a domestic dispute that occurred last month, when the defendant accused his wife of having an affair.

Earlier this month, the case came to court for a change of plea and during the plea hearing the defendant told the judges that he was in custody and yet he was trying to correct his wife’s adulterous behavior (Sotoma ma Komoro). The defendant added that the laws need to be changed in the territory.

Associate Justice Richmond noted that it’s clear from hearing the defendant; this matter should be scheduled for a jury trial.

The husband is still in custody with bail set at $35,000.



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