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Court Report



A 35-year-old man from Lauli’i, Samoa, who came in on the Lady Naomi yesterday was arrested after the Custom’s canine alerted near the man and uncovered a green leafy substance inside his pockets, say Customs Agents.


The agents stated that DPS Vice and Narcotics division was contacted for assistance and the leafy substance tested positive as marijuana. Samoa News understands the marijuana which was found inside the man’s pockets was wrapped in foil. The amount uncovered was more than a pound with a street value of close to $10,000.


The man is being held for 48 hours, while police work on the police report to be forwarded to the Attorney General’s office for prosecution. Samoa News understands the man being held at the Tafuna Correctional Facility is a frequent traveler on the Lady Naomi.




The Attorney General’s office has charged Sefo Lega of Malaeimi with felony assault, on allegations he cut a man’s arm with a knife. Lega, who was arraigned in the High Court this week, is behind bars on bail of $10,000.


He’s facing charges of second degree assault which is a class D felony, punishable up to five years, and/or a fine of $5,000. He is also charged with Public Peace Disturbance a class A misdemeanor that carries a jail term up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.


According to the government’s case, on October 13, 2013 police responded to a call and upon arriving at the scene in Malaeimi, they were informed by the victim that Lega, who was intoxicated, slashed him three times using a pocket knife.


Police proceeded to the defendant’s home, however he was not there. The next day police received a call from Lega’s mother, informing them that Lega had arrived home and police then went to the house and arrested the defendant.


The victim, who was taken to the hospital, sustained three stitches on each shoulder and three stitches on his neck as a result of the incident.


Court filings say Lega during interrogation admitted he had used a pocket knife to cut the victim three times.


“Defendant stated that the victim tried to stop a fight between him and other people and that’s when he took out the knife and slashed the victim,” say court filings.




Roma Fanene walked out of court a free man after Chief Justice Michael Kruse dismissed the government’s case filed against him alleging second degree assault, after the government’s two key witnesses were unavailable for the trial.


Fanene was before the court for his Jury Trial slated to begin on Monday, Oct. 21. However, prior to the trial, Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe filed a motion for continuation from Monday to November 4, 2013, which was the original date set for the trial.


Philippe in her motion stated the Jury Trial date had been moved up by two weeks with little notice to the parties — three business days.


The Ass’t AG stated the government has two key eyewitnesses — the two victims in this case — whom the Defendant allegedly attempted to run over with his car; and both were unavailable for service for the week of October 21, 2013. These witnesses are the only two eye witnesses to the crime.


The motion notes that on the afternoon of October 17, 2013, the government discovered that one of the key witnesses had recently departed the island for Samoa (on October 10, 2013) for a family obligation.


According to his mother, Mr. Sasauli is due back sometime during the week of October 21, 2013, but until his return, he would remain outside of the jurisdiction of the Territory and of the Court, and the government would be unable to serve him with a subpoena or to ensure his presence for trial on October 21, the motion states.


His presence for the date of November 4, however, can be ensured, the motion states, as proper service would be possible before that date.


The motion further states that the only other eyewitness to the crime is also in Samoa.


Philippe in her motion states the government believes that with a continuance — to November 4, 2013 — his return can be arranged for purposes of having him testify at trial.


She notes, such arrangements, unfortunately, cannot be made on such short notice, and he (the second eyewitness) would not be available on October 21 — since such arrangements would require the government paying for and booking roundtrip plane tickets for the witness to return, and arranging for a temporary Immigration reprieve (as the witness departed the Territory voluntarily for a period of one year pursuant to Immigration statutes).


The Chief Justice, however, denied the government’s motion for continuance. The government then moved to dismiss the motion without prejudice (meaning the case can be refiled).


 ___Kruse denied that motion, but instead dismissed the case with prejudice, and the case cannot be refiled.


Fanene was charged with second degree assault and public peace disturbance on allegations that he attempted to strike another person using a vehicle.