Court Report

Translated by Samoa News staff

MUASAU SENTENCED TO 2-YEARS +

A man who broke into a home and stole family belongings as well as having sexual contact with a minor, who was sleeping in her bedroom, has been sentenced to more than 2 years in prison.

Hilton Forlorn Muasau was initially charged with four felony crimes — rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse in the first degree, and first-degree burglary — and two misdemeanor counts, resisting arrest and endangering the welfare of a child.

But under a plea agreement reached with the government and accepted by the High Court, the defendant pled guilty to two felonies — first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree burglary — for the incident which occurred late last year in the village of Pago Pago.

During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Muasau offered apologies to the victim and her family, and told the court that what he did was wrong and he was very remorseful of his crime. He asked for leniency in sentencing so that he could return home to find a job and care for his family.

Assistant public defender Michael White asked the court to give his client another chance in life to better himself, but the assistant attorney general Bob Pickett argued for a jail term saying that the defendant’s crime is very serious.

Pickett also requested that Muasau pay the amount of $2,630 — which is the cash value of the family’s property stolen by the defendant.

In handing down sentencing, Chief Justice Michael Kruse sentenced the defendant to 7 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000 for each of the counts — meaning the defendant gets 14 years in jail and a fine of $2,000.

However, because Muasau is a first time offender, the court sentenced the defendant to 7 years probation based on conditions he must abide with, among which are the defendant serves 28 months behind bars and pays a $2,000 fine. Once released from jail, after serving time, he is ordered to find a permanent job.

He is also banned from returning to the scene of the crime and making any contact with the victim.

The court did not accept the prosecutor’s request for the defendant to pay the $2,630.

HUSBAND CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING WIFE

A man accused of assaulting his wife more than a week ago, in front of the couple’s young daughter, has been ordered by the District Court not to make any direct or indirect contact with his wife or family, without court permission, while his case goes through the judicial system.

Samoa News does not identify the husband by name in domestic violence cases to protect the victim and her children.

The wife told police that it was an argument between her and the husband, which resulted in the defendant pushing her on the face as well as trying to restraint her from leaving the couple’s home. But as soon as the wife was able to get away, she fled the home to neighbors and called police, according to court information.

She pleaded with police to hurry before her husband finds her. Upon arrival at the scene police contacted EMS, which provided medical assistance, which included medical treatment for minor wounds to the victim’s face.

The woman told police she was dragged around in the couple’s home, by the defendant, while he continued to punch her in the face, and then locked the doors of the home to prevent her from running away.

The defendant appeared in District Court last week where he was charged with two misdemeanors of third degree assault and public peace disturbance. A status hearing for the defendant is scheduled for later this month and he is released without bail with conditions that include he makes no contact with his wife and not to violate any law.

(Original Samoan stories were published in the Lali section of Samoa News editions yesterday and Monday.)

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