Defendants’ absence cause delay

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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Court House at Mulinuu.

Court House at Mulinuu.

The absence of about five accused held in custody from a Supreme Court mention on Monday has caused a further adjournment for their cases. 

Supreme Court Judge, Justice Lesatele Rapi Va’ai called for a 20 minute recess when the accused did not take the stand when their cases were called.

When the mention started, the lawyer for the National Prosecution Office, Leone Sua Mailo requested to stand down several matters because Police were on their way with the defendants.  

Justice Lesatele accepted the request and called for recess to wait for the defendants. 

About half an hour later, the Supreme Court resumed but there was still no sign of the defendants. 

The prosecutor then made an application for the matters involving the defendants in custody to be adjourned until the next call over. 

Contacted for a comment yesterday, the Tafaigata prisons spokesperson, Sagaga Galu Frost said the defendants were transported to the Police headquarter at Malifa around 7am yesterday. 

Sagaga explained that a Memorandum of Understanding between prison and police allows for them to transport the defendants to Police. 

“That is the only route we take and it is the responsibility of the Police to transport those in  custody to Court,” said Sagaga. 

“They were transported hours before the Court cases to Police and according to our officers, there were no problems.”  

“It might be the route taken by Police to the Court house?” he suggested.

Assistant Police Commissioner, Afamasaga Michael So’onalole was asked for a comment. 

He asked to have the questions sent to him via email and said he would respond. 

There has been no response to date.

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