Pacific News Briefs
PRISONS UNDER SCRUTINY OVER CONVICT'S RELEASE
The Minister of Prisons, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, has defended the decision to release a convicted murderer to attend his matai title bestowal ceremony during the Festive Season.
The Samoa Prisons and Corrections Services (S.P.C.S.) approved the release of well-known criminal, Tagaloasa Filipaina, the Samoa Observer was told.
The release came at a time when members of the public were outraged over a prison break involving four other prisoners, which resulted in a woman and her children being attacked at Ululoloa.
One of the prisoners remains at large.
When concerns from members of the public about the Tagaloasa decision were put to the Minister, he downplayed them, saying the prisoner had shown enough proof that he has changed his ways.
“Filipaina is a low risk prisoner,” he said. “We believe he has very minimal chances of re-offending.”
The Samoa Observer put it to Tialavea that the Prison’s new Act, signed into law in 2016, indicates that those who are convicted of murder, manslaughter, sexual connection, rape, incest, burglary and robbery are not eligible for special release, holiday release and weekend release.
But Tialavea was adamant the prisoner in question posed no risk to the community.
“The release depends on the condition of the prisoner, good behavior and low risk (of reoffending),” he said.
“You should go and see Ulugia, he will explain to you why he was released.”
The Ulugia he is referring to is Ulugia Niuia Aumua, the Assistant Commissioner of S.P.C.S.
Reminded that he was the Minister who should be questioned and that the Act clearly prohibits such a release, the Minister said there is a clause under the Prisoner’s Act, which gives the S.P.C.S. the authority to release a prisoner.
“Go and read the Act,” he said, adding that he was not aware of the release of Tagaloasa.
“We only release the prisoners with special conditions, meaning they are at low risk of reoffending.
“For Filipaina, he has been before the Parole Board five times already and he will appear again next month. He is a low risk prisoner.”
(Source: Samoa Observer)
TENSIONS MOUNT IN SAMOA AS FAMILY BANISHED AFTER MURDER OF BOY
The family of the suspects charged in connection with the brutal murder of a 15-year-old boy in Satapuala has been ousted by the Village Council.
And while tensions rise in the village following the killing, one of the suspects' homes was burnt to the ground. Police were called and they have launched an investigation. Arson is suspected.
In the meantime, Satapuala Village Mayor, Vaili Mimita, told the Sunday Samoan that the Village Council met on Friday after the discovery of the deceased’s body.
He said they opted to give the family an ultimatum.
“They had to pay a hefty fine of $20,000 by 4 p.m. (Saturday) or the village will demolish (mu le foaga) all their personal belongings,” Vaili said.
“However, with God in mind, there was a change of hearts by the chiefs."
“So we have opted to banish them instead of demolishing what this family owns, such as burning their homes and damaging everything on their family land.”
Vaili said they will formalize their decision on Monday.
Yesterday, the Sunday Samoan arrived at Satapuala as the Chiefs and more than 30 untitled men were coming back from the area called the Poloka, where the five suspects, who have been arrested, reside.
Vaili confirmed that one of the family homes of the suspects was burned to the ground. He assured that the Village did not have anything to do with the fire.
“As you can see, we just came back from officially informing the family they will be removed from Satapuala,” Vaili said.
(Source: Samoa Observer)
PLANS TO APPEAL MALIETOA RULING IN SAMOA — ONCE AGAIN
There are plans for an appeal after the latest court ruling over who has the right to hold the high Samoan paramount title of Malietoa.
In December, Samoa's Land and Titles court ruled in favour of the title going to Papalii Faamausili Moli, the son of the late head of state, susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II.
Our correspondent Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia said it has now been a decade since the death of the last holder of the title because the family remains divided on who should inherit it.
Autagavaia said Papalii Faamausili Moli Malietoa was humbled and pleased at the latest court ruling, but it did not look like the end of the matter.
"I heard they are going to file an appeal, but the court, the lower court, has ordered for the family to perform the traditional saofa'i, the traditional bestowal of the title."