Second request for bail reduction denied for alleged meth defendant

fili@samoanews.com

With the defense providing “no new evidence”, District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia has denied a new bail reduction request for Sonny Tui, who is facing drug related charges and remains in custody since his arrest early last week.

The District Court had set bail at $40,000 and during initial appearance last Thursday, his attorney, Assistant Public Defender, Ryan Anderson sought reduction of bail down to $20,000 but the request was rejected by District Court Judge Elvis Patea, who says that based on the three felony drug charges against the defendant, the court felt the bond was a reasonable amount.

Tui appeared again in court yesterday morning for his status hearing to find out if the defendant wants to move forward with a preliminary examination hearing, which he did and therefore Sunia set it for Jan. 4th —  after Tui waived his rights to holding a preliminary examination within 10-days after his arrest — in accordance with local law.

Anderson requested and Sunia allowed the defense to again argue for bail reduction down to $20,000 saying that Tui may have some medical issues and didn’t have his medication when he was taken into custody. Anderson believes that his client was taken to the hospital while in custody.

Anderson then restated the same arguments for bail reduction he made last week, such as that his client has strong ties to the community, not a flight risk and a family man.

In response the government, again, opposed any bail reduction, arguing that the alleged facts cited in the affidavit regarding the defendant shows that he “poses a threat” to the community.

Sunia said the defense presented the same arguments as it did before, to which Anderson responded that the new issue is the defendant’s medical condition. Sunia asked if the defendant has received his medication, the reply was “yes”.

In rejecting the bail reduction, Sunia said the court has “not heard any new evidence” and stressed that bail remains at $40,000.

Tui is charged with three felony counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; crystal methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a control substance with the intent to distribute, and authorizing illegal drugs to enter American Samoa.

The government alleges in court documents that more than seven ounces of crystal methamphetamine was hidden in a speaker in a package, which arrived via cargo flight two Fridays ago. The package was addressed to the defendant, who went to the airport to claim it and was questioned by customs and later arrested and charged.

Also in court yesterday was Sierra Isaia for a status hearing on his drug case and the defendant waived his rights to holding a preliminary examination hearing and was bound over to High Court, where he will be arraigned on Wednesday.

Isaia, who is out on bail, is charged with one felony count of unlawful possession of crystal methamphetamine.

Comment Here