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Court Report

[SN file photo]
Translated by Samoa News staff


A man accused of assaulting his father has been sentenced to serve 45 days in jail and the 22 days of pre trial confinement is counted towards the jail term.

Sarasopa Sianini was initially charged with two misdemeanor counts of third degree assault and public peace disturbance following an incident last month. But under a plea agreement, the defendant pled guilty to the assault charge.

During sentencing on Wednesday, the government requested that the defendant be given a sentence of 12 months probation, and this would include the 22 days pre trial confinement. The defendant apologized for his crime and asked for leniency that would allow him to return home to his family. This was also a request by the defense.

District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia noted that it has become a habit for defense and government attorneys to request that pre-trial confinement is included in any court sentence, as this is the case for Sianini.

Sunia also said that of the many assault cases that have come before the court system, it’s very rare to see a defendant charged with assaulting a parent, who raised the person since an infant.

According to Sunia, it was last November that the defendant was convicted of private peace disturbance in his family after the defendant got into an argument with his father. However, two months after been sentenced for this crime, Sunia said the defendant is now charged with assaulting his father.

Therefore, Sunia told the defendant, the court was not giving him any more chances.

The judge asked the defendant as to why he continues to cause these bad problems towards his father, to which the defendant replied that his father has an anger problem and Sunia quickly interjected, firing back, “How about you, don’t you also have an anger problem? You will be jailed for 45 days.”


A bench trial is set for Feb. 9 before District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia for inmate Samuel Wright, who rejected a plea agreement offer by the government, which has accused him of assaulting another inmate.

Wright and former inmate Manu Lefatia each face one count of third degree assault — a misdemeanor — for the alleged assault earlier this last month of inmate Larry Samatua inside the Territorial Correctional Facility.

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 holdup of the Gold Conda store 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.

During a status hearing yesterday, assistant public defender Kate Hannaher informed the court that her client, Wright, has been told of a plea agreement offer from the government, but the defendant rejects the charge and therefore requests a bench trial.

Meanwhile, Lefatia’s case is pending in court.


The High Court has set for May this year, the jury trial for Brian Benjamin Loma, after the court rejected early this week a plea agreement between the government and the defense.

During a plea hearing late last month, the court was informed of the plea agreement between two sides; however, the court sought additional information from both sides pertaining to the specific language of the agreement, which was denied by the court this week.

Loma, who is out on bail, is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, marijuana. The government alleges that Custom Officers, with the assistance of a K-9, found marijuana on the defendant while going through Customs at Pago Pago International Airport, the night of Sept. 15, 2015. Loma was a passenger on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu.

(Original Samoan stories are in today’s Lali section as well as yesterday.)