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Court Report


The Attorney General’s office has filed a criminal summons for a teacher of a private school accused of inappropriately touching a female student. Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe told Samoa News the teacher will appear in the District Court next week Monday for his initial appearance.

The teacher has also been charged with false imprisonment, a class A misdemeanor which is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. He’s also facing two charges of third degree assault for offensive touching, which is a class C misdemeanor and is punishable with up to 15 days in jail and or a fine of $300 or both.

In an early report, Samoa News reported the teacher was placed on a five-week suspension after allegations surfaced that he had inappropriately touched his student. Parents of the student involved filed the complaint with police two months ago.


The pre-trial conference for the bus driver who’s been charged in connection with a crash involving more than 20 passengers has been rescheduled.

Farani Opetaia is facing reckless driving causing personal injuries, driving without a valid commercial license and driving without a driver’s license.

The case is now scheduled to March 27, 2012.

The 60-year old bus driver is represented by Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement, who says that Farani claims  there was a mechanical problem, which contributed to his bus crashing in Lauli’i.

The defense lawyer asked the court for a continuance because she’s trying to have a mechanic look at the bus involved, however the mechanic was off island.

According to the government’s case, the aiga bus ran off the main road, oceanside — carrying more than 20 passengers last month. The bus driver escaped with no injuries from the accident, while three people were left in critical condition.

When the defendant came to court for his initial appearance, he was ordered by District Court Judge John Ward not to drive a commercial vehicle, or a private vehicle without valid licenses.


Jimmy Fidow will be sentenced in the High Court on April 5, 2012 for second degree assault. This was following a plea deal between the defendant and the government.

Fidow was initially charged with first degree assault however in the plea deal, he pleaded guilty to second degree assault, which was amended from the original charge. The plea deal was accepted by Associate Lyle L Richmond.

According to the government’s case, the charges stem from a drinking session which turned violent, when the defendant struck his drinking mate on the face with a beer bottle. The victim suffered a fractured nose and had lacerations on his facial area. The victim underwent an emergency operation as a result of the incident.

Fidow, who’s in custody of police on bail of $15,000, is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White. Assistant Attorney General Celia Reyna is the prosecutor for this matter.


Manu Fonoti and Asofa Jr Titio were arrested Tuesday evening on allegations that the pair, while intoxicated, stood in the middle of the road in Nuuuli, causing vehicles to stop and traffic to back up.

They made their initial appearance yesterday before District Court Judge John Ward, and are charged with public peace disturbance and underage drinking.

Court filings state that the pair, who are both 18 years of age, also walked to a gas station nearby and were stoning an ASPA truck, which was collecting trash Wednesday evening.

Police said the pair also threw rocks at the gas station but missed, and they took off on foot. They are represented by Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.


Chief Justice Michael Kruse rescheduled sentencing for David Maea to March 23.

 Maea is charged in connection with escaping from jail and participating in the assault of an ANZ bank security guard in January 2010.

When the defendant’s case was called, Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop-Folau and Public Defender Ruth Risch Fuatagavi approached the bench. After a while the Chief Justice continued the matter to later this month. Kruse was accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.

Maea, who is 23-years-old, was initially charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and escape from confinement. In a plea deal with the government, he pled guilty to first-degree assault while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges.

During Maea’s plea agreement hearing he admitted that he attempted to cause serious physical injury to Itutasioatua Tuiloma by attempting to stab Tuiloma with a butter knife. There are three other inmates charged in this incident.