Repeat offender from Samoa ordered to depart the territory as a condition of probation
Pago Page, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 52-year-old man from Samoa with a criminal history has been ordered to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders upon release from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF), as a condition of his 5-year probation sentence.
Olataga Fifita, who has been in custody unable to post a $10,000 surety bond, appeared in court last week for sentencing.
He was initially charged with second degree assault, a felony; and two misdemeanors: third degree assault and public peace disturbance. But under a plea agreement with the government, Fifita pled guilty to second degree assault. The remaining charges were dismissed.
Fifita admits that on or about Feb. 13, 2019 he caused severe injuries to a 47-year-old Kokoland man, by striking his back with a metal pipe. Fifita said it was his anger that made him do it.
Last week, Fifita apologized to the court and begged for another chance. He said he has an anger problem that needs to be addressed through counseling. “I want to go home to care for my wife and six children. I’m truly remorseful for what I did, it was not me who stirred up everything, it was the devil who was living inside me who tempted me to act violently,” Fifita told the court.
Defense attorney Ryan Anderson asked for a probated sentence, with the condition that Fifita attend and complete an anger management counseling program. Due to Fifita’s illegal immigration status, Anderson said he agrees with Probation, that his client needs to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation.
Fifita has a criminal history. He has three convictions for third degree assault and property damage in District Court, and another conviction in High Court from 9 years ago when he assaulted his neighbor during a drinking session by striking the man’s head with a shovel.
Fifita was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Execution of sentence is suspended, and he is placed on probation for 5 years under certain conditions. He has to serve 20 months at the TCF without release. All but 12 months of detention is stayed, and he is ordered to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation. A copy of the court’s decision shall be served to the Chief Immigration Officer to ensure that Fifita’s name is on the “lookout list”.