DOG BITE CASE RESOLVED WITH PLEA
A man accused of being in possession of a vicious animal, a dog that attacked a young man unprovoked, pled guilty in High Court yesterday morning.
Ama Posima, the owner of the dog, is charged with possession of a live vicious animal, a class D felony punishable by five years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both. In the plea deal with the government, the defendant pleaded guilty to the amended count of possession of a live vicious animal, a misdemeanor.
However after the defendant entered his guilty plea, Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond noted that the government should clarify to the court why the charge has been dropped from a felony to a misdemeanor, when a child was injured. Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde informed the court that she’ll look into this and file something with the court.
According to the government’s case, on June 22, 2012 a woman filed a request for help regarding a vicious animal, a dog, and reported that her son was attacked by the defendant’s dog while the son walked to his Uncle’s house with a friend to get an X-Box.
The victim told police he did not know the dog was coming towards him when the dog jumped on him, biting his hand. The victim sought medical treatment and received three stitches on his lower right arm from the dog bite.
On July 6, 2012 police visited the defendant’s residence in Afono, along with two employees from the Department of Agriculture, but the defendant was not at home. The police were only able to speak to his wife, who was there.
Court filings say that the police informed the defendant’s wife that the Department of Agriculture employees had to take the dog, as it was not safe to keep the dog around the area because it had bitten someone unprovoked.
The defendant’s wife agreed and the dog was taken by the Department of Agriculture workers. The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White while prosecuting this matter is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.
CASE OF ALLEGED ATTACKER LANDS IN HIGH COURT
Mike Atonio accused of striking a man on the head with a beer bottle entered a not guilty plea to charges of second degree assault and public peace disturbance, when he was arraigned before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judges, Mamea Sala Jr and Muasau Tasina Tofili yesterday morning. Atonio was arrested and charged last week following a fight that happened in front of the Family Mart in Nu’uuli.
Atonio was arraigned in the High Court after he waived his rights to a preliminary examination before District Court Judge John Ward on Thursday. According to the government’s case, the victim was walking to the store with his nephew when he saw someone he wanted to speak with, sitting and drinking with a group of guys.
It’s alleged the victim called out to the person he wanted to speak with, but was struck in the head with a beer bottle. The victim told police he became dizzy and noticed his head was bleeding.
Court filings state that the police interviewed the defendant and he said he was hanging out and drinking in front of the Family Mart store with some friends when he saw the victim punch two men.
The defendant claimed the victim started to pick a fight with him and another guy and he thought the victim was concealing a gun in his shorts because the victim kept reaching for his shorts. The defendant said he got scared, so he hit the victim over the head with a beer bottle and took off for his house.
According to the government’s case, the victim said his shorts didn’t have a belt, so that is why he kept grabbing his shorts and that he did not have a gun and he never tried to make it look like he had a gun. The victim sustained a laceration to his head that required five stitches.
SENTENCING FOR FORMER AIRLINE EMPLOYEE POSTPONED
Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond who was accompanied on the bench with Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr and Muasau Tasina Tofili granted the request by defense lawyer Mike White for a brief continuance in the sentencing of former Polynesian Airline acting manager Judy Mata’utia, who was based in Pago Pago.
White informed the court that the defense would like a witness to be present during his client’s sentencing and that is why they were asking for a brief continuance.
Mata’utia was charged in connection with the theft of more than $10,000 from the airline. She recently admitted in court that she embezzled money from the airline but did not recall how much was used.
Mata’utia’s admission that she used money that passengers had paid to the airline for tickets, was rendered during a plea agreement hearing yesterday morning.
She was initially charged with embezzlement and passing bad checks, however the plea deal with the government had the defendant pleading guilty to embezzlement while the passing of bad checks charge was dismissed.
According to the plea agreement, the defendant admits that she embezzled monies from the Samoa Government owned airline from March 2010 to October 2011.
The defendant, who is out on bail, also agreed to pay back Polynesian Airlines in the amount of $11,380.44.
According to court documents, Mata’utia was acting area manager for Polynesian Airline's office in Pago Pago between March and October of 2010, where she used the money for her personal use and allegedly fabricated bank deposit slips which she forwarded to the airline’s main office in Samoa.
Also cited in the affidavit was an incident in which the defendant took close to $2,000 in cash from Polynesian and used another individual’s check to cover the amount.
Richmond scheduled Mata’utia’s sentencing for December 11, 2012.