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Court Report

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LAY PREACHER ARRESTED

A Methodist lay preacher spent the night at the Tafuna Correctional Facility on allegations that he assaulted a woman from his church on Monday afternoon during a church meeting.

Ueni Fa’amoe is facing public peace disturbance however the government is looking into this matter to determine if additional charges will be filed against the defendant. Fa’amoe made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday morning.

According to the government’s case, police received a call from the victim’s daughter that her mother has been assaulted by the defendant. Police proceeded to the victim’s home and observed that victim’s right cheek appeared to be swollen with a visible handprint on her face.

The victim told police that following choir practice, she and other choir members had a meeting where she told the defendant to pay the money he borrowed from the church choir funds, so she could deposit it the next day.

It's alleged the defendant did not respond immediately and then all of the sudden he swore at the victim twice. The government claims the defendant then slapped the victim twice on both her cheeks, using the back of his palm.

Police apprehended the 39-year old defendant from his residence in Leone, Monday evening. The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley; prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag.

MR. & MRS. MALAE TO HAVE PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION HEARING

A couple held on $10,000 bail for each defendant will proceed with their preliminary examination in District Court this Friday.

Tau and Miracle Malae are both charged with tampering with witnesses and concealing an offense. The charges stem from allegations that Malae and his wife removed two girls from the territory, who were allegedly victims in a sexually related case that is pending in the High Court against Tau Malae.

Each charge is a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment up to five years, a $5,000 fine, or both.

District Court Judge John Ward explained to Mr. and Mrs. Malae that a preliminary examination is not a trial it’s just a hearing where the court will make the determination as to whether the government has sufficient evidence to have the matter proceed to the High Court.

The government’s first case against Tau Malae was scheduled to go to trial yesterday, however prosecutor Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop asked the court to postpone the jury trial for Mr. Malae given that the government has charged the defendant and his wife with new criminal charges because the couple had removed the victims from the territory.

Defense attorney Fiti Sunia objected to the motion but Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond granted the government’s motion and postponed the jury trial to November 13, 2012.

A hearing has been scheduled for this Friday where the government is moving to revoke the $10,000 surety bond for Tau Malae when he was arrested for the first case.

The government’s first case against Mr. Malae accuses him of performing sexual acts with his wife’s two nieces last year, where he’s facing charges of sodomy, two charges of first degree sexual abuse, two counts of deviate sexual assault and rape.

In the new case against Mr. and Mrs. Malae, court filings say that Mrs. Malae paid for two one-way tickets to Samoa for the victims, despite the fact that the government had in their possession the travel documents of the victims, and that new travel documents were applied for and obtained for the victims.

The government noted that a court order to release Tau Malae in the first case states that the defendant is to have no contact directly or indirectly with the two complaining witnesses, who are minors. However, it is alleged that Mrs. Malae visited the victims where they were staying often to talk to them. The victims told police Mrs. Malae talked to them about the case against her husband and asked them to drop the charges against him.

GOVERNMENT OFFERS PLEA DEAL FOR FORMER INSURANCE EMPLOYEES

Two former employees of Florence Saulo and Associates Insurance company arrested on allegations of misappropriating funds of more than $10,000 belonging to the company have received plea offers from the government.

The defendants, Priscilla Toelei’u and Herema Taupau were in the High Court for status of pre-trial conference. They are each charged with embezzlement, a class C felony which is punishable up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from commission of said crime up to $20,000, or both fine and imprisonment.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse, heard from Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde that a plea offer has been handed over to the defense and more time is needed to determine if the proper paper work will be filed for a change of plea, or otherwise.

Kruse granted the request and set the matter for October 5, 2012 on both cases.

According to the government’s case, on September 7, 2011 the Department of Public Safety received a letter from the President of Florence Saulo and Associates (FSA) Vui Florence Saulo requesting a criminal investigation of two former employees on allegations they had misappropriated company funds close to $12,000.

Both defendants are released out on bail.

REPEAT OFFENDER’S CASE BOUND OVER TO HIGH COURT

A repeat offender accused of escaping from police confinement while serving a long term jail sentence is scheduled to enter a plea in the High Court today.

Lorenzo Vaimagalo who’s serving a 12-year sentence for two previous cases for which he was convicted, yesterday waived his rights to a preliminary examination in the District Court.

The escape from confinement is a class D felony punishable by up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

The defendant, who’s represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin, will be arraigned today before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond.

According to the government’s case, on July 26, 2010 then Warden Moliga reported that inmate Vaimagalo has escaped from the Tafuna Correctional Facility.

The defendant was allegedly apprehended when a witness contacted correction officers with the time and place he was meeting with up with Vaimagalo.



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