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Court Briefs

Michael Agasiva continued to shake his head as Associate Justice Lyle Richmond sentenced the defendant to five years imprisonment for second degree assault and six months in jail for public peace disturbance, to be served concurrently.

A bench jury this year convicted Agasiva of assaulting another person on Sept. 29, 2009, after the tsunami hit the territory, using the flat side of a machete, after he punched the victim several times.        

Given a chance to speak, before the court handed down the sentence this week, Agasiva adamantly objected to provisions of the pre sentence report compiled by the Probation Office, which deals with members of his family.

He told court that the victim, a male, who is a native of Samoa, is an overstayer and was sponsored by a police officer, who is also a native of Samoa. Additionally, about 75% of the Agasiva family in Amaluia are from Samoa and their allegations against him - among other things, being a trouble maker -  are all untrue, he said.

Agasiva went on to claim that many of his rights under the law have been violated in this case, citing for example, the false accusation in this case and his being wrongfully imprisoned. He presented to the court a big cardboard box filled with documents he said, that contain information which provides that the pre sentence report is incorrect.

He also told the court he is innocent of the crime he is convicted of but asked the court for leniency in sentencing to ensure that his social security benefits are not affected.

Agasiva's attorney, Ruth Risch-Fuatagavi requested a probative sentence but acknowledged that this is not the first time the defendant has come before the court for issues dealing with assault.

Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna asked the court to sentence Agasiva to 5  years imprisonment because there is no question about the charges against him, who was convicted during a bench trial. She reminded the court that this is not the first time that Agasiva is charged with assaulting another person.

After handing down the sentence, Richmond reminded Agasiva of his rights to appeal the verdict and sentence and he has 10-days to file such an appeal.


Assistant Attorney General Blake Hanley says two men were admitted to the LBJ Medical Center this past weekend following two separate incidents - one in Leone and the other in Pavaiai.

For the Leone incident, defendant David Golk is accused of using a machete to cause injuries to another person and the defendant is currently charged with only public peace disturbance, with  additional charges to be filed soon once the government investigation is completed, Hanley told Samoa News.

Court information states that the victim suffered wounds to one of his hands and the back of his head, which resulted in the victim requiring surgery at the hospital.  What prompted the alleged attack on the victim is unclear at this point.

For the Pavaiai incident, Sopi Senio is accused of using his vehicle to hit another person, over a land matter, according to court information. Senio is currently charged with public peace disturbance with additional charges to be filed soon once the police investigation is completed.

Golk and Senio made their initial appearances earlier this week in District Court.

If the defendants are able to post bail, the court has ordered each person not to make any direct or indirect contact with the victims and their families. Golk and Senio are to surrender all travel documents to the government and not to leave the territory while their cases are pending in court.

Deputy Police Commissioner, Leseiau Laumoli could not comment on either cases because the investigation is ongoing but he did say that these were the only two serious incidents over the weekend.


The High Court has taken under advisement, inmate Aperaamo Levi's request for work release, so that he could earn money to pay the $1,100 restitution ordered by the court, when he was sentenced May of this year.

Levi's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin, told the court this week, that her client is hoping to be employed at a local retailer but the set back at this point is that some of Levi's documents are still in the possession of the Attorney General's Office.

She said her client needs these documents to confirm his employment status. Attorneys for both sides are now working on the documents and other paper work to be presented to the court when a decision is final on the work release request.

The government accused Levi of collecting money from two victims last December to pay for visas to travel to the U.S. and New Zealand. Levi was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment as a condition of his 5 years probation.

The court stated at the time that it will look into a work release request - for legitimate employment - after the defendant serves 6 months behind bars at the Territorial Correctional Facility.

Samoa News reporters Ausage Fausia and Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.