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Court News

The High Court has continued to next week a status hearing for Feleti Niue, whose attorney requested postponement so that the defense could find the details on why Niue hadn't reported to the Probation Office.The court had issued a bench warrant for Niue's arrest after he failed to appear for probation review hearings scheduled in October.During last week's status hearing, Niue's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin, said the defense is putting together information and details to be presented to the court for review in this matter, and requested a continuance which has since been set for Dec. 19.Niue was sentenced in January this year for an incident that occurred last year - aiding and abetting the possession of marijuana. After serving the required jail time, Niue was required by the court to visit the Probation Office but never showed up. He also failed to show for two probation hearings in July.Probation Office told the court late last month that Niue hadn't complied with conditions of his five year probation, and had failed to visit the Probation Office. If the allegation of probation violation is proven true, the court could order Niue's probation be revoked. Niue is currently being held without bail.SATELE GALU SATELE SR.The District Court last week granted the government's motion to dismiss misdemeanor charges against Satele Galu Satele Sr and two Vailoatai chiefs Muliaga Muliaga Jr. and Popese Tupea.Satele, the Western District Governor, was charged with encouraging others to violate the law, a misdemeanor, while the other two were charged with property damage and trespassing for going to the complaining witness' place and damaging the grave - both charges are also misdemeanors.The trio appeared Thursday in District Court for their pre trial conference hearings where Assistant Attorney General Camil Phillipe moved to dismiss the charges; however, in the case of Satele, the government will continue its investigation and if additional information surfaces that require legal action, new charges will be filed.District Court Judge John Ward II explained to the defendants the government's request, saying that the government still has a chance to refile charges against Satele, if the ongoing investigation warrants such action.And if the government does refile any charges, Satele will be informed through a court summons on when to return for court, said Ward.The government alleges in court filings that Satele told a police investigator that he instructed the other two defendants to damage a grave belonging to the complaining witness. Satele has denied ever making such a statement to police.The complaining witness told police that he built the concrete grave for his father and he later learned that it was damaged by someone. Further, the witness told police that it was on the following day after discovering the damaged grave, that the witness ran into Satele, who allegedly claimed that he had directed two people to dismantle the grave.The witness alleges that Satele was unhappy with the the height of the grave, which is higher than other graves in the area.FOUR WOMEN CHARGED WITH ASSAULT OF ANOTHER WOMANThe government on Friday filed felony charges against four women, accused of assaulting another woman at Fatumafuti beach area on Thanksgiving Day and each defendant was ordered held under $18,000 bail.Serrah Mauga, Evelyn Mauga, Le'alai Mauga and Simaima Mila - who are related to each other - are each charged with assault in the first degree, a felony. This is besides the misdemeanor public peace disturbance charge after they were first arrested. Information revealed in court indicates that the alleged assault started from comments between the defendants and the victim, posted on the social network, Facebook.According to a court affidavit, the defendants allegedly assaulted the woman while swimming at Fatumafuti with her relatives. It alleges that the defendants shouted profanities to the victim and ordered her to get out of the ocean. Simaima then got in the water and pushed the victim to shore.When the woman resisted, Simaima punched her and the other co-defendants joined Simaima in assaulting the victim, the affidavit alleges.Serrah then ran up to her house and grabbed a cricket bat but police were able to stop her from using it. When the victim was on her way to her car, the defendant ran up to the victim allegedly to punch the victim.The government also alleges that the defendants attempted to drown the victim and one of them choked the victim during the fight.The defendants were warned, that if they were able to post bail, they were not to make any contact with the victim or her family. A police officer says that this is not the first time problems have occurred between these defendants and the victim.PIO FAGAAUTAUA man accused of breaking into the home of a relative in Amaluia and allegedly stealing family belongings is now charged with burglary in the first degree and stealing, both felony charges.Court information states that it was around 5 a.m. on Dec. 8 that defendant Pio Fagaautau broke into a relative's home and took off with a cell phone, shoes and cash. A relative sleeping in the home woke up to find the defendant in the house.During his initial appearance last week, the District Court set bail at $15,000 and - if he is able to post bail - he is ordered not to go to the relative's home or make any contact with the relatives. The court has set for this Thursday, the defendant's preliminary examination hearing.Samoa News reporters Ausaga Fausia and Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.