A man from Samoa, who arrived in the territory recently under a 30-day visitor’s permit, and described by the District Court as a visiting tourist, has been ordered to return to his home country and not to break any local laws, if he visits American Samoa again in the future.
Fa’ataualofa Meki was convicted and sentenced last Friday on one count misdemeanor charge of public peace disturbance following a incident where he caused trouble at a store and challenged the Asian store operator to a fight after the operator told the defendant that local laws prohibit stores from selling beer and alcohol after 10p.m.
According to court information, Meki went to the store with friends and one of the friends told the defendant that what he was doing was wrong in trying to challenge the storeowner to a fight for refusing to sell them beer. Meki turned around and challenged the friend to a fight, followed by the defendant challenging the taxi driver, who took them to the store, to a fight also.
Meki’s actions came after he was in American Samoa for only two weeks. He was on island to visit family.
During sentencing last Friday morning, District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia told the defendant that if he is a visitor to American Samoa, he must respect and follow the laws of the territory, instead of trying to violate local laws.
Sunia told the defendant he is “very lucky” that his action didn’t cause any other major problems that would have resulted in the court handing down a much harsher sentence.
Meki was sentenced to 6 months probation under several conditions, which includes that he pay a $100 fine, not violate any local laws and return to Samoa as soon as possible.
And if Meki is granted a 30-day visitor’s permit in the future, Sunia warned the defendant not to commit any crime but to respect the laws of American Samoa.
SOLIA MOSEGI JR.
Senior court officials say the jury trial for Solia Mosegi Jr., a.k.a ‘Joe Palagi’ gets underway this morning with jury selection from among more than 100 local residents who have been summoned to be selected to the six-member jury panel. The trial will be tried before Associate Justice Lyle Richmond.
Mosegi is charged with one-felony count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one-count of resisting arrest. It’s unclear at this time how long it will take the court to seat a jury before opening arguments get underway.
While next month, Mosegi goes to trial with his co-defendants Manu Lefatia, Tuliese Taliu and Sinapati Tu’ufa’anatu for the alleged shooting of the Leone police substation in November 2014.
In this case, Mosegi is charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit assault in the second degree and conspiracy to commit property damage in the first degree.
The shooting of the substation came after police took into custody Lefatia’s sister, who owns Aute Bar in Malaeloa. All four defendants in the shooting remain in custody unable to post a $100,000 bond — for each person.
A woman accused of assaulting two other women at a church was sentenced late last week by the District Court.
Court information says Asenati Togiaso was charged with two-counts of misdemeanor third degree assault for an incident that occurred not long ago, where two women were assaulted at church.
Court information explained that Togiaso and the first woman got into an argument resulting in the defendant assaulting the victim. However, a second woman stepped in to stop the assault and the defendant pushed her away resulting in the second woman falling down.
Under a plea agreement with the government and accepted by the court the defendant pled guilty to one count of third degree assault and the other charge was dismissed. She was sentenced late last week to 12 months probation under several conditions, which include paying a $100 fine within the first 30 days of her probation.
The defendant had served one day in jail for pre-trial confinement and the court counted this jail time towards her sentence and waived sending her to jail for 15 days as part of her probation.
The court warned the defendant not to take matters into her own hands if there is any future dispute, and that no one is above the law.
(Original Samoan stories published in yesterday’s Lali section of Samoa News and on weekend online.)