Nine men jailed over Luatuanu’u road block

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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LUATUANU'U MEN IN COURT: Some of the men accused and jailed for the Luatuanu'u road block outside the District Court.

LUATUANU'U MEN IN COURT: Some of the men accused and jailed for the Luatuanu'u road block outside the District Court. (Photo: Misiona Simo/Samoa Observer)

Nine of eleven men from Luatuanu’u accused over blocking the road, in an incident where the Police were attacked earlier this year, have been jailed by the District Court. 

The sentencing was handed down by District Court Judge Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma yesterday. 

The accused were Lilo Asiasi Fa’aitiiti, Perenise leauta, Joe Junior Peseta, Sonny Motu Elia, Jason Kioa, Sefo Vaoifi, Leueni Iakopo Tua, Ameperosa Manaia Lama, Lafaele Vito Sakaria, Fomai Perenise and Vito Sakaria.

While eight were jailed for six months; one was jailed for six weeks while the other two were convicted, discharged and ordered to pay Police cost.

The men faced charges of disorderly conduct, obstruction of a public road, being armed with dangerous weapons, throwing stones, threatening words and rioting.

Lawyer Vaisala Afoa of the Attorney General’s Office was the prosecutor.

 According to the Police summary of facts, the incident occurred on March 19 this year at Luatuanuu.

The men blocked the government road after the Anoamaa District Rugby Tournament on March 17, 2018, which resulted in a dispute between the young members of Luatuanuu and Falefa.

“The accused were all involved together with other men of their village where they blocked the government road and obstruction of traffic,” the Court was told.

“They were also involved in the incidents where they threw rocks at the police cars as well as members of the public who were using this road to travel to Apia on the morning of the incident.

“This same day the accused, Lilo Asiasi Faaitiiti, uttered threatening words to the Police officers who came to calm the situation down.

The matter was first called on 24 March where the accused men pleaded guilty to the charges against them.

A different incident led to the charges against Joe Junior Peseta, 28, of Lutuanuu, Sonny Motu Elia, 25, and Jason Kioa, 24, who faced charges of disorderly conduct and rioting.

 “The victim of this matter is a male of the village of Ta’elefaga, Fagaloa,” the Court heard.

“On April 19, 2018 around one o’clock in the morning, the victim was travelling with his wife and a family member heading to Motootua Hospital.

“When they arrived at Luatuanuu they found packs of sands and a toilet bowl blocking the main road. The victim slowed down his vehicle however, someone started throwing stones towards their vehicle and by this time, the victim started speeding so that he could get away from the Luatuanuu men.

“The victim laid a complaint to the Police and they conducted their investigation and found that the three accused were the ones who were involved in this incident.”

One of the accused that was sentence to six months imprisonment saying goodbye to his relative.
One of the accused that was sentence to six months imprisonment saying goodbye to his relative.

During Judge Fepuleai’s sentencing, he the charge of rioting is a serious charge.

 “The maximum penalty for this charge is two years imprisonment term,” he said.

“There are eight of you who are being charged with taking part in riot and the summary of the Court’s decision in this charge, I adopted 16 months imprisonment as a starting point for this charge.

“I deducted six months for your guilty pleas, I deducted two months for your previous good character and given that you are first offenders and lastly, I deducted two months for your remorseful and that leaves six months.

“This is the Court’s decision for the accused charged with taking part in riot you are convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment.”

Judge Fepuleai had sentenced each accused according to the charges laid against them.

For Jason Kioa’s charge of taking part in a riot he was sentenced to six months imprisonment, and for other charges such as intentional damage, throwing stones, disorderly conduct and obstruction of road, he was convicted and discharged. 

For Sefo Vaoifi, the charge of taking part in a riot he was convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment, other charges such as throwing stones, disorderly conduct and obstruction of public road, he was convicted and discharged.

For Leueni Iakopo Tua on the charge of taking part in a riot he was convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment, other charges such as being armed with a dangerous weapon namely rocks and throwing stones he was convicted and discharge.

For Lafaele Vito Sakaria the charge of taking part in a riot he was convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment, other charges such as being armed with rocks, throwing stones and disorderly conduct he was convicted and discharged.

For Fomai Perenise, on the charge of taking part in a riot he was convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment, other charges such as armed with rocks and throwing stones he was convicted and discharged.

For Vito Sakaria, on the charge of taking part in a riot he was convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment, other charges such as disorderly conduct and obstruction in a public place he was convicted and discharged.

For Sonny Motu Elia, on the charge of taking part in a riot he was convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment, other charges such as two counts of disorderly conduct and obstruction of public road he was convicted and discharged.

For Joe junior Peseta, on the charge of taking part in a riot he was convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment, other charges such as two counts of disorderly conduct he was convicted and discharged.

For Perenise Leauta , on the charge of one count of obstruction of public road he was convicted and was order to come up with a sentence within 12 months if called upon and lastly he was ordered to pay police cost of $300 before 4pm.

For Ameperosa Manaia Lama, on the charged of disorderly conduct he was convicted and sentenced to six weeks imprisonment, other charges such as obstruction of public roads he was convicted and discharged.

For Lilo Asiasi Faaitiiti, on the charge of uttering threatening words, he was convicted and ordered to come up with a sentence within 12 months and pay police cost of $500 before 4pm.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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