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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

MAN CHARGED FOR ALLEGEDLY THREATENING DAUGHTER WITH GUN/KNIFE

The Attorney General’s office is looking into filing additional charges against a man who allegedly threatened his daughter with a knife, and then at gun point. The man, who is a taxi driver, made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday morning.

Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim. According to the government’s case the father was arrested from his home on Monday, after police received a call from the daughter’s school.

It’s alleged that the incident began when someone contacted the defendant’s cell phone, asking for the defendant’s daughter. The police affidavit says the father questioned his daughter about who was calling his cell phone, and the daughter said she didn’t know.

It’s alleged this upset the defendant,who then allegedly assaulted his daughter with his hands. The police affidavit alleges the defendant then fetched a knife and threatened his daughter, telling her to leave the house, but the daughter did not leave the house, and she was crying.

According to the government’s case, the defendant then fetched a .22 rifle and pointed to his daughter telling her to leave the house.

According to police, the father threatened to kill his daughter while he held the gun to her face. The defendant is facing public peace disturbance and third degree assault charges, however the government is looking into filing additional charges.

The defendant told police that he was trying to scare his daughter. Police have confiscated the rifle and the knife that were allegedly used during the incident. The defendant, who’s being held on bail of $200, is scheduled to appear in court next week Monday for a status hearing.

DRUG DEFENDANT ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

Chief Justice Michael Kruse has accepted a plea agreement between the government and Vaoeli Lafoia. Vaoeli pled guilty to the amended count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, a Class D felony. The charge carries a jail term of up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

In this matter, there are other two co-defendants, Hepa Pahe and Keiana Talaese. Hefa Pahe has also entered into a plea agreement with the government, and sentencing for him is scheduled for April 9, 2012.

Pahe, who is a Tongan National and a fisherman by trade, pled guilty to the one charge against him. Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing on April 9, 2012.

Vaoeli is the second co-defendant who has entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Court filings say police were responding to a public peace disturbance call on the Marina in Fagatogo, which later led to the arrest of Lafoia and his co-defendants.

It’s alleged that when the fight escalated, Lafoia fled from the Marina Dock and went to the main dock. While attempting to enter the wharf, a security guard saw that Lafoia had a marijuana joint on his ear and police were contacted.

Court filings say a marijuana substance was also found in Lafoia's pocket. Sentencing for Lafoia has been scheduled for May 3, 2012. The remaining co-defendant whose case is still pending in court is Keiana Talaese.

BRIBERY AND FELONY DRIVING OFFENDER ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

District Court Judge John Ward accepted a plea agreement between the government and Fa’aea Tafea yesterday morning. Tafea pled guilty to felony driving and bribing a police officer.

Tafea told the court that he was on his way to work when he was pulled over by a police officer. He said he then offered the police officer money, however the officer denied the money and arrested him.

According to the government’s case police were patrolling the public highway and came across the defendant, who was operating a vehicle with an expired registration. When the officer approached the defendant, it was revealed that the defendant’s driver’s license had been suspended for a previous DUI conviction.

Police impounded the expired vehicle, and bail has been set for Tafea at $3,000.

Ward ordered a pre-sentence report for Tafea and scheduled sentencing for the defendant on April 12, 2012. Tafea is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin while prosecuting was Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.

DRUG DEFENDANTS ARRAIGNED IN HIGH COURT

Alleged drug defendants Punefu Tuaolo and Ronald Wells, charged following a police raid last week denied the charges against them when the pair were arraigned in High Court yesterday morning.

Tuaolo who’s held on bail of $100,000 is facing unlawful possession of controlled substance (methamphetamine), unlawful possession of controlled substance (marijuana), possession of an unlicensed firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Wells is facing one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), his bail is $50,000.

Pre-trial conference for the pair has been scheduled for May 22, 2012. 



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