Justice slams N.P.O’s absence

By Deidre Fanene ,

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Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren.

Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren. (Photo: Deidre Fanene)

The sentencing of a Chinese businessman found guilty of assaulting and causing bodily harm to another Chinese businessman and his mother has been rescheduled for today.

Zhu Jian Chen was supposed to have been sentenced yesterday but the non-appearance of a lawyer from the National Prosecution Office (N.P.O.) forced the Supreme Court to reschedule.

Chen was represented by lawyer, Te’o Richard Fa’aiuaso, before Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren.

When the matter was called, Justice Tafaoimalo became concerned about the absence of a prosecutor. She said it was unprofessional for the prosecutor not to appear.

 “We need to hand out the sentence but I am hesitant to find out if we can do so without the prosecution here,” she said.

“Can we just call the prosecution again please?” 

A police officer at the Court informed Her Honour there was no sign of an official from N.P.O.

Justice Tafaoimalo said not having a prosecutor present was unacceptable.

“The Court can’t seem to find where they are and I think we have only just set this date a few weeks ago,” she said.

“So the Court will be letting them know that we are very unhappy.

“I’m sorry that we have to put this on hold because of the inconvenience of not having a prosecution.

“We will let you know today once we make some phone calls to try and have them here at 1 o’clock if that’s okay.”

About five minutes later, Justice Tafaoimalo came back and said the Court doesn’t have to wait around for the prosecution.

“There is no reason why we should wait around for the prosecution to come,” she said.

“But if you are agreeable with it we can come back tomorrow at 10a.m. before our next matter starts.

“And we will be sending a very stirring message to the prosecution for the unprofessionalism.”

Chen is owner of Princessa Shop. He has been found guilty of beating up Wilson Fang and his mother, the owner of the Country Shop in January last year.

The trio got involved in a fight because the defendant was angry he had lost customers after the victims tipped bus drivers to take passengers to their shop.

Police said the defendant and a few others had met at the victim's residence where the fight took place after they had attended celebrations marking the Chinese New Year at the Chinese Ambassador's residence.

The criminal charges against two others accused over the same incident have been dismissed.

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