Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

The government has charged Isaako Talosaga with first degree burglary and stealing, for allegedly breaking into a store in the Tafuna area in March this year and stealing goods worth more than $100.

According to court information the defendant’s alleged crime only came to light after he gave a pair of slippers, which he allegedly stole from the store, to a friend, who told his mother that it was a gift from Talosaga and the friend’s mother made a report to police.

As of early this week, the defendant was still held in custody unable to post a $10,000 bail and he returns to District Court later this week for another hearing.

The government has informed the court that a police investigation is still ongoing, because it’s suspected that Talosaga may be involved in another store break-in in Tafuna that occurred in February this year.

HUSBAND CHARGED WITH ALLEGED ASSULT OF WIFE

A 45-year old man, accused of assaulting his wife in front of the couple’s two young children, appeared last Friday in District Court where he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of private peace disturbance in his family, and third degree assault.

However, the government informed the court that a police investigation is still ongoing that may result in additional charges against the defendant, whose bail was set at $500 and its unclear as of early this week if he has been able to post bail. The court has set for Friday this week another hearing for the defendant.

To protect the victim, Samoa News does not identify the defendant in this type of domestic case.

Court information states that the charges against the defendant, followed complaints from neighbors who called the Tafuna police substation for help last week, after hearing loud arguments from the defendant’s home. Even more concerning to the neighbors, is the couple’s young children crying loudly during the time of the loud argument.

A neighbor told police over the phone of the defendant’s possible assault of his wife, but couldn’t see for sure and for police to send someone as soon as possible, as there are loud noises of people arguing coming from inside the defendant’s home.

Upon arrival at the defendant’s home, police observed the wife sitting outside with a sad face but they couldn’t locate the defendant, who allegedly fled. When questioned by police, the wife explained that her husband came home intoxicated and started questioning her about how the family’s money was spent.

However, the defendant allegedly got angry because the explanation was not clear and resulted in the defendant assaulting his wife, who was then taken to the hospital for a check up and thereafter released.

LEGA OA-VILIAMU

The High Court is expected to hand down a decision in four weeks time, on the case of Lega Oa-Viliamu, who the government says failed to comply with all conditions of her probation, handed down in 2012 after been convicted of stealing.

During the four-week period, attorneys for both sides are also to provide written arguments to the court, which initially scheduled a probation violation hearing last Friday for Oa-Viliamu.

Among conditions of probation was for Oa-Viliamu to pay a court fine as well as the more than $40,000 that she stole from a former employer. However, a Probation Office report before the court, found that Oa-Viliamu’s probation ends early next year, but she has yet to make any payments towards the $40,000 or the fine.

At last Friday’s hearing, Public Defender Douglas Fiaui told the court that his client has tried to find permanent work, but her criminal record has made it very difficult to find a job. He also said that Oa-Viliamu had abided with many conditions of probation; and reminded the court that Oa-Viliamu has three young children who depend on her.

Assistant attorney general Gerald Murphy acknowledged the difficulty for Oa-Viliamu to find work due to her criminal record, but argued that she had made the decision, which resulted in her conviction and sentence in 2012. He also argued that Oa-Viliamu is still required to pay restitution to her former employer as well as the court fine.

Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea says there is a lot of information in the Probation Office report regarding Oa-Viliamu and that the court wanted to share with both sides. For example, page 4 of the report states that Oa-Viliamu’s spouse, as well as her parents were to assist in paying the restitution and fine — both that at this point remains unpaid.

While it’s not included in the Probation Office report, Patea says Immigration Office records show that the Immigration Board has authorized Oa-Viliamu to remain in American Samoa until Mar. 3, 2018 and that she is not allowed to work at jobs where a person gets a pay check. Additionally, she is only allowed to do domestic work.

Patea, who was flanked on the bench by Chief Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr. and Associate Judge Muasau T. Tofili, ordered everyone to return in four weeks time for the court’s decision on Oa-Viliamu’s probation violation.

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