New Zealand-based lawyer gets the nod

By Pai Mulitalo Ale ,

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Lawyer Satiu Simativa Perese outside the Supreme Court at Mulinu’u.

Lawyer Satiu Simativa Perese outside the Supreme Court at Mulinu’u.

New Zealand-based lawyer, Satiu Simativa Perese, will prosecute the suspended Director of the National Prosecution Office, Mauga Precious Chang.

This was confirmed by the Attorney General, Lemalu Herman Retzlaff, yesterday. 

Mauga has pleaded not guilty to charges of negligent driving causing injury and dangerous driving, for which she has been suspended. She is represented by former Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai in a hearing that has yet to begin due to the conflict of who would be prosecutor.

The conflict between the Attorney General’s Office and the National Prosecution Office (N.P.O) over who would prosecute Mauga emerged when the matter was called in the District Court before Judge Vaepule Vaemoa Va’ai and two prosecutors showed up. 

One was former Attorney General, Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu and the other was Satiu, who was in the country based on instructions from the Office of the Attorney General. 

The conflict was referred to the Supreme Court for a decision but when the matter was called, the Court was informed that the parties had agreed to settle the matter.

Yesterday, Lemalu said local barristers approached to do the job had declared conflicts of interest, declining to take up the role. 

 “Therefore given the work already done and to remove all risks of local conflicts in this case, the decision is that it will remain with Satiu Simativa Perese,” said the Attorney General.

Lemalu also confirmed they will engage an independent prosecutor for the case against the suspended Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil.

The prosecutor will be confirmed soon.

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