DISTRICT COURT JUDGE CONCERNED WITH DELAYED POLICE REPORTS
Many of the cases presented before the District Court last week had to be continued because of the delay of police submitting their reports to the Attorney General’s Office. This prompted District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia to say this is a matter of concern to the court because the delay in submission of police reports drags out the work of the court.
More than 10 cases that were on the calendar for last week had to be postponed for another time, based on the government request for continuance because the prosecutor was still waiting for a police report.
Sunia’s voice raised a bit as he spoke of the court’s concerns over the delay of police reports, saying the government should do its work and push the police to provide these reports. He also apologized to the attorneys in the court at the time for raising his voice.
Sunia recommended the government contact police for the needed police reports so that cases on the calendar can resume.
Among the cases that have been continued to another time are: the government’s case against a man who allegedly assaulted his wife, two men from Ili’ili who were taken into custody for public peace disturbance and a man from Pago Pago who allegedly stole goods from a store in Tafuna.
A 22-year old man from Vaitogi who pled guilty to public peace disturbance has been sentenced to six months probation. Court information said Fereti To’omalatai was onboard an aiga bus, full with passengers, when he started to cause trouble and making loud noises.
The incident occurred last month, when police stopped the bus, which originated from Tafuna, and was on the main highway in Nu’uuli. A passenger on the bus had called police using a cell phone, because To’omalatai was intoxicated and making a lot of noise.
When the defendant appeared Monday in court for sentencing, District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia sentenced the defendant to six months probation and he is prohibited from consuming alcohol or illegal drug, be a law-abiding citizen and keep the peace in the community.
To’omalatai was also ordered to find permanent employment and to attend and complete alcohol counseling.
When defendant Tavita Mapu was convicted and sentenced in 2013 for second-degree burglary, he was placed on 5 years probation and was ordered to find a permanent job during the first six months of his probation, as well as a $1,000 fine.
However, three years into his probation, and Mapu has yet to find a job, or pay the fine. And, when Mapu appeared late last week for his probation status hearing, he told the court he has filled out applications and sent resumes to many local companies but no one has hired him.
Judge Elvis P. Patea, who was sitting on the High Court bench, requested the defendant provide to the court evidence of his request to the many local companies for employment. Patea said the court would then try to find out from these companies as to why he was not hired or to confirm as to whether the defendant did apply to these companies for employment.
The court hearing was prompted by a motion by the Probation Office to revoke the defendant’s probation for failure to comply with all conditions of probation, which include finding a job and paying the fine.