Two men charged in drug cases and out on bond re-arrested after a fight in Malaeimi
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two men who have pending cases in High Court were arrested during the weekend following a fight that broke out in Malaeimi.
Oliva Toimoana and Lafaele Sefo made their initial appearances in District Court yesterday morning.
Judge Fiti Sunia has set their bonds at $300, subject to certain conditions that include maintaining the peace at all times and making all of their court appearances.
Toimoana is being charged with public peace disturbance, 3rd degree assault, stealing, and criminal contempt - all class A misdemeanors, punishable by a jail term of up to one year, and a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
Sefo is facing charges of public peace disturbance, 3rd degree assault, and criminal contempt.
The government claims that last Saturday, July 28, at around 8:20a.m., a concerned citizen contacted the DPS Tafuna Substation to report a fight in Malaeimi.
Responding officers were able to speak to the male who reported the incident, as well as other vendors.
According to what witnesses told police, defendant Toimoana stopped by the market to collect the rent money for the market stalls.
When he got to the stall being leased by co-defendant Sefo, Tiomoana allegedly reached over, grabbed the money, and jeered profanity while taking the money on the table.
Co-defendant Sefo got angry and walked towards Toimoana, telling him he had no right to grab the money without asking.
Sefo is alleged to have challenged Toimoana to a fight, before punching him in the jaw.
The two men began fighting while vendors tried to stop them.
Witnesses were able to separate the two men.
According to the government, Toimoana allegedly took money that was in a money box belonging to Sefo without first asking for it.
Some vendors expressed to police their concerns about the incident, saying they were fearful that it could have escalated and the market could have been damaged, and this is the only place for them to make money to take care of their children.
Both men were taken into custody for questioning and were later booked at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) to await their initial appearances yesterday morning.
The government notes that both defendants have pending drug cases in High Court
Toimoana is out on a $5,000 surety bond. His pending case charges him with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (marijuana).
During his pretrial conference in High Court last week, Toimoana’s defense attorney, Acting Public Defender, Michael White informed the court that they have received all the discovery from the government regarding his client’s case; however, they have been unable to reach an agreement. White then asked the court to set Toimoana’s case for a jury trial.
Sefo, who is out on a $5,000 surety bond, is being charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine). One of the conditions of his release is that he appear in court every time his case is called.
When Sefo failed to appear in High Court during a scheduled hearing on May 7, 2018, Chief Justice Michael Kruse issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
Samoa News understand that Sefo was served a copy of the bench warrant yesterday, and he will make his initial appearance for that matter, later this week.