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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

CHIEF IMMIGRATION OFFICER SUBPOENAED

Chief Immigration Officer Ufuti Fa’afetai Ieremia has been subpoenaed by Chief Justice Michael Kruse regarding the immigration status of a Tongan National who will be sentenced in the High Court today.

Initially the sentencing of drug defendant Hefa Pahe was scheduled for yesterday, however when the case was called, it appeared that the defendant’s immigration report was not attached to the probation report which is prepared by the Probation Office.  

Chief Justice Michael Kruse inquired of Chief Probation Officer (CPO) Silivelio Iosefo about the immigration report on Pahe.

CPO Iosefo responded that a request was made to the Immigration Office on June 4, 2012, and a follow up request was made on July 9, 2012 however there has been no response.

The Chief Justice ordered Court Marshal Michael Nix to serve the Chief Immigration Officer with the subpoena immediately after the court hearing yesterday.

Pahe a Tongan National fisherman, is charged with one count of unlawful possession of controlled substance of marijuana, and he has pled guilty. He was one of three co-defendants arrested in connection with a public peace disturbance. His co-defendants have already been sentenced and are both placed on five years probation.

DEFENDANT DIES IN JAIL AND ASG MOVES TO DISMISS CASE

The Attorney General’s office will be moving to dismiss their case against sixty-seven-year old taxi driver, Siulepa Auelua of Nu’uuli who passed away last week while in the Intensive Care Unit, at LBJ hospital.

Auelua was accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16 year-old girl and was facing several criminal sexual charges.

Auelua was held on bail of $10,000 and he passed away during his pre-trial conference period.

Assistant Public Defender Mike White told Samoa News that it was during his visit to Auelua in jail regarding his case that he saw the man was very ill. White told the correction officers to take his client to see the doctor. He said the 67-year-old was admitted to the LBJ hospital and died in ICU the next day.

CASE OF FIREMAN CONTINUED UPON DISCUSSION FOR A RESOLUTION

Iuliano Tavale a firefighter facing charges of manslaughter and homicide by vehicle in connection with the death of his one-year old son appeared in the High Court yesterday morning for his pre-trial conference.  

Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin, lawyer for the defendant, asked the court for a 30-day continuance, noting she has yet to interview witnesses in this matter, because they are off island.

She further explained there are ongoing negotiations with the government for a resolution. Chief Justice Michael Kruse granted the request noting the continuance was for the purpose of ongoing discussions between the parties.

A Manslaughter count is a class C felony that carries a jail term of up to seven years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. A Homicide by Vehicle count is punishable by up to five years in jail, a fine up to $5,000 or both.

According to the government’s case, this incident came to light when CID Captain Lavata’i Ta’ase Sagapolutele received a written report from a doctor at the LBJ Emergency Room, regarding a suspected case of child abuse.

According to the government’s case, Tavale took his son to the hospital and told the doctor that he and his son were in a pickup truck when his son fell and hit his head on the dashboard and passed out.

The one-year old was placed on life support and died the next day.

According to court documents, the autopsy performed on the victim by Dr. Ivy Clemente claimed the underlying cause of the hematoma was due to “blunt force injury” to the head.

Court documents say Tavale admitted his son was injured in the car he was driving, when he accidentally hit the brakes. The one-year old was not wearing a seat belt.

When the investigating officer asked the defendant about the bruises on his son’s body, the defendant admitted that he accidentally slapped his son hard several times prior to the incident.

Tavale apologized to police for his carelessness in performing his parental duties, saying he should have known better and provided his son with some kind of restraint in the vehicle.

The fireman is out on bail of $15,000, and his new pre-trial conference is scheduled for September 18, 2012.



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