Judge to rule on applications in Commissioner Fuiava’s hearing

By Pai Mulitalo Ale ,

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Suspended Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil, was back before the Supreme Court yesterday. 

This time his legal team sought a decision by the Court, in particular Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai, to access potential witnesses and to access Police records and documents in relation to the charges against him. 

Yesterday, the prosecution was to file their response to the applications from Fuiava’s team.

Lawyer Lucy Sio, appeared on behalf of the National Prosecution Office (N.P.O). She told the Court they have already served all the files and trial documents to the defendant and his lawyer, Lei’ataualesa Komisi Koria.

The files include old documents pertaining to firearms, over which the Commissioner has been charged.

In relation to the second application for permission to allow the defense lawyers and the defendant to contact potential witnesses who are police officers, Ms. Sio said they have filed the list of all the witnesses and the documents have been disclosed to the defendant.

Lei’ataualesa confirmed that the charges have been served and he had uplifted the trial documents from N.P.O last Friday. He also confirmed that the list of witnesses in this matter have already been provided by the prosecution.

Leiataualesa, however, argued that the basis for the application filed last week, was for his client to have access to information provided by the Ministry of Police as well as the witnesses. 

Ms. Sio said the defense could interview the other witnesses. However the defendant will have to inform them and they will advise the Ministry of Police. 

Leiataua confirmed he has been given the list of police witnesses.

However, he said the rules of professional conduct by the Law Society under the Legal Practitioners Act dictates that both parties should have access to the facilities and information required for a trial.

At that point, Justice Lesatele interrupted to ask the lawyer whether he is telling the Court he is at liberty to talk with the prosecution’s witnesses. 

Lei’ataua said the requirement is that they have to inform the prosecution they intend to speak to the Police witnesses and the prosecution is at liberty to abide.

But Justice Lesatele said the Court couldn’t grant them permission to speak to witnesses on the other side.

 “This is not a civil claim,” he said. “You can’t just go and talk to the witnesses on the other side.”

Leiataua insisted on his argument based on the rules but Justice Lesatele said:  “Those may be the rules but I’m talking about the evidence.” 

In the end, Justice Lesatele adjourned the hearing to allow him time to consider the prosecution’s response to the applications filed by Fuiava’s legal team. 

 “I will do that this afternoon and inform counsels later on this week,” Justice Lesatele said. 

Fuiavailili is facing more than 200 charges in relation to fire arms and one of incite to murder. The matter has been adjourned until next Monday.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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