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Court Report

joy@samoanews.com

WESTERN DISTRICT GOVERNOR ARRESTED AND CHARGED FOR DUI
 
Lualemaga Edward Faoa, the Western District Governor made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday for speeding. Police officers told Samoa News that Faoa was pulled over in Ili’ili for speeding, however police also uncovered he was under the influence of alcohol and he was arrested.
 
The same day, Faoa posted bail and he was released with citations of speeding and DUI.
 
Faoa entered a plea of not guilty yesterday. The Western District Governor is represented by Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei.
 
A status hearing in this matter is scheduled in two weeks.
 
MAN IN SEX CASE JAILED FOR 28 MONTHS
 
Chief Justice Michael Kruse sentenced Tapeni Pio to serve 28 months in jail, as part of his seven years probation. The government initially charged Pio with rape, sodomy and two counts of sexual assault. In the plea deal that was read in open court, the defendant pled guilty to two counts of sexual assault while the remaining charges were dismissed. 
 
During sentencing the defendant pleaded for a second chance before the court, where he apologized to the court, the government and the victim in this case. He also apologized to his family, village and church for what he did.
 
“I believe that I’m needed in my family and that I can be of great use to my family, however whatever the sentencing the court will give me, I'll accept it,” said Pio.
 
Assistant Public Defender Mike White stated that he understands the seriousness of this matter given the defendant is 19 years old, while the victim is 14 years of age. White requested that the court consider fashioning the sentence taking into account the defendant’s young age.
 
Assistant Attorney General Tony Graf pointed out that the difference in the ages of the defendant and the victim “brings concerns” and the government recommends the defendant be incarcerated for two years and he must not contact the victim directly or indirectly.
 
The Chief Justice pointed out that according to the probation report, “apparently the defendant and this young lady had a relationship” and the victim gave birth and the defendant has admitted that he's the father.
 
The defendant was sentenced to serve seven years for each count, to be served concurrently, however the court suspended sentencing, under certain conditions: Pio must conduct himself as a law abiding citizen, serve 28 months without any release whatsoever unless for genuine medical attention, or by order of the court.
 
After serving six months, Pio can seek work release, and if granted work release it shall be from Monday to Friday from 6a.m. to 6p.m. Kruse told the defendant to be mindful that work release is prompted because Pio told the probation officer that he wants to work to care for the child.
 
Pio was also ordered to register as a sex offender, and undergo HIV testing within the next 30 days.
 
LELILIO ENTERS A GUILTY PLEA
 
One of the two people charged on allegations of their involvement in the issuance of four fake immigration identifications to four Chinese women on separate occasions has entered into a plea agreement with the government.
 
Matagi Lelilio is a co-defendant with Immigration officer Polone Savea, whose case is now set for jury trial next year.
 
Lelilio was initially charged with bribery of a public servant, however last Friday she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery a misdemeanor that was amended from the more serious charge of bribery. She admitted that she conspired to commit bribery by giving Savea $600 to make fraudulent ID cards for Chinese women.
 
According to the government’s first case Lelilio gave Savea the money when they were at the Immigration Office and Savea took her picture for her ID. Court filings say that Polone alleges that Lelilio called him saying she needed help getting ID cards for two Chinese girls and he told her to bring them to the office where he took their pictures.
 
The other two Chinese women who received fake ID’s had been issued Alien Registration Numbers (AR numbers) that were already issued to other foreigners.
 
Kruse accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for Lelili’o on December 13, 2013.



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