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Motion granted to subpoena expert witness in Thomas Siaumau case

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Associate Justice Fiti Sunia last week granted a government motion in Thomas Siaumau's case — a court subpoena for an expert witness from off island — despite strong opposition from the defense.

Siaumau, who is scheduled to go to trial next Monday appeared in court last Friday for a status hearing. He is represented by Daniel Holladay and Richard deSaulles of RDA Law Firm, while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn. He is accused of shooting at a police vehicle over a year ago.

deSaulles has told the court that they have received the list of names of all the government’s witnesses. However regarding the government’s motion for a subpoena to allow an expert witness from off island to testify during trial, he said he just received the copy before the start of court and this is the first time the defense has been made aware of this witness.

He said the government never informed them about this witness and to be fair, they need time to speak to the witness, to see what she is going to testify to, as she is an expert who conducted testing of the alleged evidence.

Sunia replied, “You’re not entitled to know the government’s witnesses. That is the law.”

Dunn said the witness is an expert, whose name was mentioned in the report that was turned over to the defense last month and if they had done their research, they would have been able to identify her name.

deSaulles did not rest. He said they were unaware of the government’s efforts to call an off island witness to testify and the government should have notified them. As Dunn was trying to respond, Sunia cut her off and told deSaulles that Rule 16 is very clear.

“Rule 16 does not entitle you, defense, to the government’s witnesses prior to the filing of witnesses, and the substance of the testimony including witnesses statements," Sunia said.

He told the defense to file their motion and it will be heard this Friday.

Dunn said the main purpose of the government’s motion is for the court to grant an order to notify the expert witness’ boss that she needs to travel to the territory to testify in this case.