HIGH COURT SCHEDULES TRIALS FOR PENDING CASES
The High Court has set trial dates for cases which have been pending for some time before Associate Justice Lyle L. Richmond, who has not been in court for a few months due to health reasons.
Among the notable pending cases is one against the Retirement Office’s former executive director Luatua Filisouaina Ta’afua, whose trial date is now set for Nov. 6. However, it could be moved to an earlier date — Jun. 5 — if cases already set for this date, do not move forward.
Last April, the defendant, who is out on bond, entered a not guilty plea to four counts of embezzlement, five counts of stealing, three charges of criminal fraud, seven charges of forgery and one count of passing a bad check.
The charges against the defendant stem from the time he was head of the Retirement Fund Office; and an investigation by local police resulted in the charges.
Another of the long outstanding cases is against Stoechkict Allen from 2011 and trial set is for Dec. 18. This case stems from the time Allen was employed with the Attorney General’s Office and is alleged to have been involved with others pertaining to the issuance of Certificates of Identity (CI).
Local attorney Marcellus Tala Uiagalelei was appointed at the time as the independent prosecutor for this case, because Allen was an employee of the AG’s Office. Uiagalelei told Samoa News recently that trial was initially set for Aug. 19, 2014 but didn’t proceed as the government’s main witness was already in New Zealand at that time.
Current District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia was Allen’s defense attorney at the time. The High Court has informed Allen that a status hearing is set for Mar. 17 and to have a new defense attorney by that time.
For failure to comply with conditions of probation during sentencing in 2014, the High Court has sentenced Semurana Aumoana to serve out the remaining 16 months in prison of his original sentence.
Aumoana pled guilty to second-degree burglary and was sentenced in October 2014 to 28 months imprisonment as one of the conditions of his 7 years probation. Aumoana served only 12 months behind bars and was released by the court — following a defense motion — to find a job to pay the $1,000 fine with 16 months of the 28 month service suspended, as long as the defendant abided by all conditions of his probation.
However, a drug test came back positive for “ice” during random drug test for Aumoana administered by the Probation Office in June of last year. It was also discovered Aumoana had paid only $200 of the fine.
During a recent probation hearing, the defense argued for leniency so that Aumoana can remain out of prison to look for a job, but the court disagreed, and sentenced the defendant to serve the remaining 16 months of his 2014 sentence.
A man accused of pointing a gun at another person in Utulei last year has been sentenced by the High Court to serve 15 weekends at the Territorial Correctional Facility.
Abraham McMoore, who was out on bail, pled guilty last month, under a plea agreement, to two misdemeanor counts of possession of an unlicensed firearm and use of a firearm, while one felony count and two other misdemeanors were dismissed.
The defendant admitted that on the morning of Oct. 18, 2016, when he was intoxicated he pointed a gun at a man who was in the neighborhood to conduct construction work. He also admitted that he was in possession of an unlicensed .22 caliber pistol.
McMooore’s jail sentence, which is part of a two-year probation, started last weekend and he was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
The District Court has sentenced Alfred Sasagi to 12 months probation, after he pled guilty to misdemeanor third degree assault, under a plea agreement, which dismissed two other misdemeanor counts of trespassing and public peace disturbance.
The original charges against the defendant stems from an incident last November in Ottoville, in which he assaulted a male neighbor, due to a conflict between the pair, according to court information that also states the defendant assaulted the victim at the victim’s home.
After the assault, Sasagi started swearing profanity, says court information.
The court also set various conditions of probation that include a $200 fine, he is prohibited from setting foot on the property of the victim, he is to be a law abiding citizen, as well as attending and completing anger management.
(Original Samoan stories were published in the Lali sections of Samoa News last week and yesterday.)