SAMUEL WRIGHT & MANU LEFATIA
The District Court has continued for two weeks a status hearing on the government’s case against current inmate Samuel Wright and former inmate Manu Lefatia to allow both sides additional time to review the police report.
Wright and Lefatia each face one count of third degree assault — a misdemeanor for the alleged assault early this month of inmate Larry Samatua inside the Territorial Correctional Facility.
During yesterday’s hearing, the government requested a continuance to allow both sides time to review the police report, which they had just received and the court granted the motion.
At the time of the alleged assault, Lefatia was in custody and is one of the four men accused in the November 2014 shooting of the Leone police substation. Lefatia was later released when all four men pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge, while Wright is currently serving a 15-year prison term for his role in the hold up of the Gold Conda story in Fagaalu.
Lefatia is currently out on $200 bond for the alleged assault case; and Wright, who is serving time in jail, has been ordered by the court not to make any contact with fellow inmate Samatua.
Because of the allegedly assault, court documents say Samatua needed two stitches on the right side of his face, where Lefatia had punched him. Wright allegedly assaulted Samatua inside the TCF compound, outside of their jail cells.
Territorial Correctional Facility inmate Soosemea Tinae and his attorney will now wait for a decision by the High Court on a defense motion to modify conditions of the defendant’s sentence that were handed down in December last year.
Associate Justice Lyle L. Richmond had sentenced 72-year-old Tinae to 15 years of probation, including several conditions and one of them is for the defendant to serve 5 years imprisonment after he pled guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.
It was a few months later that the defense filed a motion with Richmond to modify Tinae’s sentencing, however, the case was presented early this month to Chief Justice Michael Kruse, who reassigned the case to Acting Associate Justice Elvis Patea, due to conflict of interest, which includes that the Chief Justice’s wife is a relative of the accused.
During a hearing yesterday on the defense motion, Tinae’s attorney Matalupevao Leupolu explained that the defense has only known recently that there are some issues pertaining to the sentence that were not clear, as well as new information that has just came to light.
Details of the motion in writing, which is already with the court, were not available at press time.
Patea has taken the arguments in the case under advisement and it’s not clear as to when he will issue a decision on the defense’s motion.
(Original Samoan stories published in today’s Lali section of Samoa News edition.)