DRUG DEFENDANT ENTERS GUILTY PLEA
A Tongan National who’s charged in connection with having illegal drugs in his possession had an expedited plea agreement hearing in the High Court last Friday. Hefa Pahe who’s a fisherman, is facing a single count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
The charges stem from a public peace disturbance call which the police responded to, and Pahe was one of the defendants. However when he was searched at the police station, a marijuana joint was in his pocket.
In the plea deal with the government, Pahe pleaded guilty to the one charge against him. Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing on April 9, 2012.
According to the government’s case a call to police came after a drinking session became violent and those who were at the party were fighting. The matter was reported to police by a security on the Marina Dock.
Other co-defendants charged in the same incident are Vaoeli Lafoa’i Jr and Talaese Keiana, who are in police custody on bail of $20,000 each.
Court filing states that Lafoa’i was found with a marijuana joint on his ear when he was trying to enter the main dock.
It’s alleged Talaese’s phone pouch contained two marijuana roaches and when she was taken to the Police station she went into the bathroom and flushed a marijuana substance into the toilet bowl. Police affidavit said police uncovered the substance near the toilet bowl.
It’s not clear as to why the defendant had the expedited plea agreement hearing last Friday.
ASSAULT CASE IN FATU MA FUTI
District Court Judge John Ward placed four women on probation in connection with an assault case in Fatu ma Futi on Thanksgiving day last year. The four women, who are related to each other, were initially charged with felony assault. However, that has been amended to misdemeanor assault.
The government alleges that Serah Mauga, Evelyn Mauga, Le'alai Mauga and Simaima Mila assaulted a woman who was swimming at Fatu ma Futi with family members. It’s alleged the incident occurred after the complaining witness and one of the defendant’s exchanged comments on Facebook.
The police affidavit noted that Le’alai was a part of the assault. However a video of the fight, posted on youtube.com showed that it was Le’alai who stopped the other co-defendants from beating the complaining witness.
Judge Ward ordered the defendants not to make contact with the victim and her family through the phone, any social network or email. The Judge noted the defendants were all in jail, Sarah for 17 days, Le’alai for 24 days, Simaima for 18 days and Evelyn for 18 days.
Ward placed the defendants on probation and suggested to Sarah to “maybe delete her facebook page” in order to keep the peace.
They were also ordered to undergo anger management counseling. The District Court Judge told the prosecutor to notify the complaining witness that there are 19 other places in the Territory to swim, aside from Fatu ma Futi.
A couple, who were charged with public peace disturbance, after they allegedly beat their daughter, appeared before the District Court on Friday.
The parents, who are denying the charge, will have their pre-trial conference tomorrow.The father was in jail while the mother was booked and released because she has minor children at home. The incident occurred last week.
Samoa News is withholding the names of the defendants to protect the identity of the child involved.
The daughter has been placed with family members since the incident.
The parents are represented by Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.
The High Court is yet to hear the expedited plea agreement between the government and Lomitusi Filiga facing weapon charges. Moliga was arraigned in the High Court on Thursday on allegations that he pointed a gun at a relative. This was after District Court Judge John Ward denied a request from the government to dismiss the felony charges against the defendant.
Chief Justice Michael Kruse re-scheduled this matter for tomorrow morning, and ordered that the plea agreement be sealed. Filiaga is facing unlawful use of a weapon, a felony, along with misdemeanor charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, third-degree assault, and public peace disturbance.
The police affidavit states the defendant said he was just playing around with the gun and didn’t mean to scare anyone with the weapon. The unlicensed firearm was confiscated by police the day the alleged incident occurred.
Filiga is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Celia Reyna.
A veteran police officer who’s facing a public peace disturbance charge has filed a dismissal motion through his lawyer Fiti Sunia.
The senior officer is alleged to have threatened to shoot his wife.
The matter was heard before District Court Judge John Ward last week, Thursday. Sunia is asking the court to dismiss the PPD count against his client; however Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe opposes the motion.
The grounds of the dismissal motion were not discussed in detail during the court session. District Court Judge John Ward is yet to make a ruling on the motion and scheduled this matter to be heard on March 29, 2012, in the afternoon.
Police affidavit states the police officer’s wife contacted police that her husband threatened to shoot her after she called and asked him about her ATM card. The woman told police that she was scared of her husband and that’s what prompted her to contact police. When the defendant was released, he was advised by the court not to make any direct or indirect contact with his wife.
Ward told the defendant to not possess any firearms or weapons, and to remain a law abiding citizen as a condition of his release, adding that if the officer does not abide by the conditions, he risks losing his police badge.