Court Report

DRIVER CHARGED IN FATAL ACCIDENT HELD ON $20,000 BAIL

 

The government has charged the driver of the blue Toyota 4runner, Perenise Ta’ala of Fagaima, in connection with the accident last week which led to the death of a man in his 20’s. Ta’ala, who will be arraigned in High Court Monday morning, is charged with vehicular homicide and DUI.

 

Ta’ala is being held on $20,000 bail and is represented by the Public Defender’s office. He was in District Court yesterday for his Preliminary Examination hearing, which he waived. According to the government’s case,  the vehicle — which was carrying six passengers — was heading up the hill in Pava’ia’i (Aoloau Road) when the back part of the vehicle rammed into an electricity pole.

 

18-YEAR OLD MAN SENTENCED TO 20 MONTHS IN SEX CASE

 

A man who pled guilty to deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse first degree was sentenced to 20 months in jail, as part of his five years probation, in a sex case involving a minor. Utoaluga Siaea, was initially facing rape, sodomy, deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse first degree and endangering the welfare of a child, however in a plea deal with the government, the defendant pled guilty to deviate sexual assault and sexual abuse, first degree while the remaining charges were dismissed.

 

During sentencing, the defendant apologized to the victim and her family, and especially to his parents for smearing their good name. The defendant, who’s from Vaitogi, pleaded with the court to for a second chance to return home and care for his family.

 

The defendant’s father also took the stand and apologized for his son’s actions, noting that although children are taught to follow the right path,  when they don’t, this is the end result. The father told the court that he's saddened by his son’s conduct, which has denigrated the reputation of their family, their village and their county as well.

 

He also pointed out that he’s saddened for the young lady who was victimized in this case. “I know her parents did not wish any of this to happen to her, we are seeing a lot of this happening to our children," he said.

 

"Regardless of what parents teach them, they are lured into the ways of this world which gets them into trouble."

 

Assistant Public Defender Mike White asked the court for probation in this matter.

 

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Tony Graf pointed out to the court that the government was concerned that the defendant had been picking up the victim in her school uniform and instead of taking her to school, he took her to his house where they engaged in sexual intercourse on numerous occasions.

 

Graf pointed out that according to the probation report, the defendant was well aware that what he did was illegal, and he was well aware of the victim’s age. The defendant was sentenced to five years in prison, however execution of sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for a period of five years under certain conditions — that he serves 20 months in jail, cannot contact the victim directly or indirectly, must register as a sex offender and must undergo HIV testing.

 

The court did point out that upon serving nine months, he’s can submit a motion for work release.

 

According to the government’s case on March 28, 2013 a woman filed a complaint with the Department of Public Safety about the defendant, who was seeing her daughter, who was a minor. Sgt. Vaina Vaofanua, watch commander at the Tafuna West Substation, investigated the case.

 

Court filings say police met with the defendant who admitted picking up the victim on her way to school in the morning and having sex with her on many occasions. According to the government’s case, the victim said she had sex with the defendant numerous times. Court filings also state the defendant admitted to police that he was aware that it’s against the law to have sexual intercourse with young girls.

 

MAN CHARGED WITH AIDING AND ABETTING ESCAPE OF INMATE DENIES CHARGE

 

Val Ofoia has denied the criminal count of aiding and abetting criminal escape when he was arraigned in the High Court yesterday morning. The defendant, at the time he was an inmate, allegedly used his position as a “trustee” to obtain a keys from the Tafuna Correctional Facility personnel office to open the gates for other inmates to leave the jail.

 

The criminal count Ofoia is facing is a class D felony punishable by up to five years, a fine of $5,000 or both. The inmates who broke out of jail are Ryan Pite and Joe Leota. The pair burglarized Bank of Hawai’i, KFC and Pizza Hut in 2012,  and earlier this month the pair entered guilty pleas before the court.

 

According to the government’s case in the matter of Ofoia, when police officers were investigating the burglary of Bank of Hawai’i, KFC and Pizza Hut, officers were tipped by a Confidential Informant that Ofoia — a trustee — was the one who provided the keys to Pite and Leota in order for the pair to leave their cells.

 

Ofoia’s pre-trial conference has been set for next month.

 

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