Court Report

Translated by Samoa News staff

MUSU FAILAUGA

A woman, who went to the Tafuna police substation to discuss an incident and ended up being charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, will be sentenced in January after the court accepted the plea agreement between the defendant and the government.

In exchange to pleading guilty, the government agreed not to file any charges against the defendant for signing the $180 check and cashing it at a Nu’uuli store. The government also agreed that it would argue for the defendant to repay the $180 to the store involved as part of any court sentence.

Failauga appeared in court early last week to hear if the court had accepted the plea agreement (not sentencing as reported last Friday by Samoa News.) However, the court continued the hearing to Monday this week, while trying to learn more from the government as to whether the defendant actually signed the $180 check and cashed it at a Nu’uuli store.

During Monday’s hearing, the court announced it has accepted the plea agreement and that the misdemeanor charge of public peace disturbance is dismissed. The High Court has scheduled sentencing for the defendant in early January 2017.

Musu Failauga was initially charged with felony possession of marijuana and misdemeanor public peace disturbance.

PATI JENNINGS

The High Court will render on Dec. 23 a decision in the case against Pati Jennings after it confirmed that he failed to comply with all conditions of his 2014 probation. Jennings was convicted and sentenced at the time for second-degree burglary.

During a probation violation hearing on Monday, the court called to the witness stand, Malcolm Polu, who heads the Probation Office. Polu testified that when Jennings was sentenced February 2014, he was placed on seven years probation with several conditions he must abide with including that he not commit any more crimes.

However, a few months ago, Jennings was charged in District Court with misdemeanor public peace disturbance and therefore he has violated conditions of his probation, according to Polu’s testimony.

The High Court was satisfied with Polu’s testimony and called another hearing on Dec. 23 to hand down a decision on Jennings’ probation.

TAVITA IAKOPO

During his probation review hearing last week, the High Court informed inmate Tavita Iakopo that he will be released from the Territorial Correctional Facility on Feb. 1, 2017 so he could find a permanent job and that the remaining months of his 28 month jail term, which is part of his 7 years probation would be waived, but it all depends on him complying with all conditions of probation.

Iakopo was convicted and sentenced in November 2015 to 28-months imprisonment for stealing, when he and two others broke into two rooms at Sadie’s by the Sea in early 2015 and stole items belonging to tourists.

During the probation review hearing, Chief Justice Michael Kruse told the defendant that he has 60-days after being released from prison to find permanent employment and failure to do so means he returns to prison to serve out the rest of his jail term.

Kruse noted the importance of the Probation Office’s recommendation not to release the defendant from confinement to find a job until after the holidays, when there will be a lot of visitors on island staying at hotels and that could entice the defendant into committing a similar crime again.

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