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Samoa Supreme Court orders Fepulea’i re-trial

Fepuleai Atilla Ropati.

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Darryl Clarke yesterday quashed a District Court decision to discharge without conviction suspended Lands and Titles Court President, Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati.

Justice Leiataualesa upheld an appeal by the Police and ruled that the matter is remitted back to the District Court for a re-trial, with the direction that section 17 of the Sentencing Act 2016 is applied.

The matter relates an incident on the night of December 15, 2017 at the end of year party convened at the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration for the judiciary and their staff. Fepulea’i, the respondent in yesterday’s appeal, struck a 55-year-old male at the party twice with a bottle and threw a punch at him and sustained injuries during the attack. 

The respondent was charged by the police and went before the District Court in July this year, where he pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm. Following a full trial, the presiding District Court Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i discharged him without conviction.

The decision of the District Court judge subsequently led to an appeal by the Police, who were represented in the appeal by Rexona Titi from the Office of the Attorney General. The respondent was represented by counsel Aumua Ming Leung Wai.

Before handing down his decision yesterday, Justice Leiataualesa told the parties that the appellant – as it did in the District Court proceedings – invited the Supreme Court to set sentencing bands for the offence of causing injury with intent.

Read more at Samoa Observer