BIOLOGICAL FATHER ENTERS NOT GUILTY PLEA
A father accused of sexually assaulting his biological daughter has entered a not guilty plea; and his pre trial conference in High Court is set for Feb. 24, 2017.
To protect the victim, Samoa News does not identify the defendant by name.
The government’s case against the defendant, who is charged with four felony counts and one misdemeanor count, was bound over from District Court to High Court last Friday where the defendant was arraigned and he entered a not guilty plea — through his attorney — to all charges.
The alleged sexual assault was reported to police on Dec. 6, which is the same day the alleged incident occurred in the early morning hours, according to court documents. The defendant remains in custody unable to post a $25,000 bond.
In the event he does post bail, the defendant has been ordered by the court to find another place to live and not to make any direct or indirect contact with the 13-year old victim.
The government is expected to file later this week felony charges against inmate Joeita Fa’aaliga, who allegedly escaped twice from the Territorial Correctional Facility this year.
Fa’aaliga was in court last Friday for a probation violation hearing, however, assistant attorney general Bob Pickett requested a continuance to allow the government to finalize charges to be filed against the defendant for escaping from confinement.
Pickett said the government believes the new charges should be filed first before the court tackles the issue of probation violation against Fa’aaliga, who was convicted and sentenced to serve 28 months in jail for felony stealing in 2013.
The defendant was also given five years probation after serving the jail term under several conditions including that he does not violate any law. But when the Probation Office learned that the defendant had escaped from confinement a few months ago, they moved to charge the defendant with probation violation.
Based on court information in 2013, the defendant had entered the territory in 2012 under a 30-day permit and never returned to his home country of Samoa.
The District Court last week sentenced Uale Anetone to 12 months probation after being convicted of two misdemeanor counts of third degree assault and trespassing onto another family’s property.
According to court information, Anetone was drinking alcohol with his friends a few months ago when a dispute erupted between him and one of his friends. Anetone assaulted one of the friends, the victim, who then took off to his home, nearby, for safety. However, Anetone went after the victim to continue the assault, which was stopped by others in the neighborhood.
During sentencing, the court handed down several conditions of probation, in which the defendant was ordered to abide. Among them, he is prohibited from consuming alcohol, not violate any laws, and be a law-abiding citizen. He was also ordered to attend and complete alcohol counseling as well as anger management counseling.
It’s unclear from court information as to what prompted the dispute between the defendant and the victim.
(Original Samoan stories published Samoa News online Saturday)