Lawyer sues Appeals Court Judge

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong ,

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Leulua’iali’i Olinda Woodroffe.

Leulua’iali’i Olinda Woodroffe.

Lawyer Leulua’iali’i Olinda Woodroffe is suing a Judge for the Court of Appeal, Justice Robert Llyod Fisher, for $1million, citing hurt and humiliation. 

Leulua’iali’i is also taking legal action against the Office of the Attorney General as second respondent, accusing them of being responsible for the actions of Justice Fisher. 

The matter was mentioned in the Supreme Court on Monday.

It has been adjourned until 24 October 2016. 

According to a statement of claim, the lawyer accuses Justice Fisher for an alleged consistent criticism of her when a matter she was standing for was called in the Court of Appeal on February this year. 

The lawyer was seeking an appeal for the case of Kirita Maria Kolotita Pune against Molio’o Teofilo Vaeluaga. 

Justice Fisher was among the panel of judges.

In her statement of claim, Leulua’iali’i alleged that the Judge in an open court “consistently made criticisms of the plaintiff which were high handed, unfair, unfounded, incorrect, gratuitous, inappropriate, abusive and made with a contumelious disregard of the plaintiff.” 

The claim highlighted that the learned judge stated in the Court that “if it were not for the importance of the appeal I think we might be minded to just dismiss it or at least adjourn it based on the delays and the incompetence of Counsel for the Appellants.” 

Further, she alleged that the Judge made “derogatory and mocking comments when the plaintiff responded that she had sought legal advice from Sir Ian Barker QC, now retired, on this issue." 

Leulua’iali’i said the Judge’s actions breached his sworn oath as a Judge of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. 

“In addition, the first defendant’s actions as pleaded above negligently or deliberately breached his duty as a judge of the Court of Appeal and breached his oath, these breaches were made with contumelious disregard to the effect on the plaintiff and consequential effect on access to justice of the people of Samoa.”  

Leulua’aili’i is seeking a declaration that the Judge’s actions breached the Constitution and were illegal. 

She is also seeking general damages and hurt and humiliation of $1million and exemplary damages of $1million. 

The same cause of action is also sought after the second defendant who is the Office of the Attorney General. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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