Court Report

fili@samoanews.com

Thursday in court, District Court Judge Fiti Sunia raised his voice to a defendant, who is an overstayer, and who has allegedly caused a person to end up in the hospital. While specific details of the incident or charges against Sapi Osana were not immediately available, Samoa News understands that a police investigation is ongoing in this case.

For Osana, he was taken into custody Wednesday and made his initial appearance yesterday in District Court, where the Immigration Officer informed Sunia that this individual entered the territory under a 30-day permit on Sept. 21 this year, via the MV Lady Naomi.

Responding to questions from Sunia, the Immigration Officer further stated that Osana had petitioned for an immigration ID and paid the required bond.

“That’s meaningless, right? He’s still an overstayer, right?” Sunia asked the Immigration Officer, who responded, “Yes, your Honor.” The judge went on to raise questions as to why this individual was still on island and were there any efforts made to look for Osana.

“You were supposed to be gone 90 days ago,” Sunia said in a raised voice towards Osana, who was sitting next to his defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson. “As a consequence of you’re being here, somebody is in the hospital.”

The judge quickly ordered “no bond” for the defendant, with the pre trial conference scheduled for Jan. 23 next year.

Last week, the High Court sentenced an overstayer to jail after being convicted of two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree for having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl several times this year. (See Dec. 27 edition for details.)

Another case in court yesterday prompted Sunia to raise his voice again. It dealt with the case against Sopa Siagigi, at his pre trial conference hearing, where the government moved to dismiss the charges as it believed they would not be able to prove its case due to problems with witnesses, who were discovered to be the defendant’s relatives.

Sunia questioned the government at least three times to get clarification on the reason for the dismissal motion.

After granting the motion, Sunia told the defendant that this is the third time this has happen for this defendant and this is also the third time this final deposition was reached in the cases.

“We’re not in the business of spinning our wheel,” he told Siagigi in a raised voice.

OTHER ISSUES

Meanwhile, the District Court has had a full calendar since Tuesday, following the three-day Christmas holiday, with some 27 arrests made and these individuals made their initial appearances.

None of the cases were serious but many involved alcohol and peace disturbances in the community or their families.

The only serious case deals with Thomas Siaumau, who is accused of shooting at a police vehicle late Dec. 14 at the Tony Solaita Baseball Field. (See yesterday’s edition for details.)

For Wednesday’s court session, three new cases were heard, for initial appearance and 20 individuals appeared for status or pre trial conference hearings. There were also bench trials later in the day, according to the court calendar.

At yesterday’s court session, there were five new cases heard and 20 individuals who appeared for status or pre trial conference hearings, and later followed by about four bench trials.

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