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School girl attacker loses appeal in Samoa courts

A man who attempted to rape a 15-year- old girl walking home from school has had his appeal dismissed.Then 18-years-old, Tei Lupe followed the girl down a dirt road and showed her a pornographic photo on his mobile, which she slapped away.He then grabbed her and pulled her into some bushes where he sexually assaulted her, despite her resisting and pleading for him to stop.He was only stopped from going further by the arrival of the girl’s two cousins.Mr. Lupe lodged an appeal based on the claim that a witness had “recanted” his evidence, and that the trial judge, His Honour Chief Justice Patu Tiava'asue Falefatu Sapolu, had erred in law.The witness, Tuasivi Toa Iafeta, signed an affidavit after the trial alleging that he had been “coerced” into making a statement against Mr. Lupe.In the affidavit Toa, then 17, accused police of intimidating him into making the statement.“An officer allegedly threatened to break his teeth with a cup; and to lock him up downstairs.”However, Court of Appeal Justices Fisher, Hammond and Blanchard dismissed the application to admit this affidavit as fresh evidence because Toa had previously confirmed his statements twice before trial.