Former N.P.O. Director appeals conviction

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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APPEAL FILED: Mauga Precious Chang and her lawyer, Aumua Ming Leung Wai.

APPEAL FILED: Mauga Precious Chang and her lawyer, Aumua Ming Leung Wai. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

The former Director of the National Prosecution Office (N.P.O), Mauga Precious Chang, is appealing the decision by the Supreme Court to convict her of a negligent driving causing injury charge.

The decision was made last week by Supreme Court Justice Mata Tuatagaloa.

On Wednesday morning, Mauga’s lawyer, Aumua Ming Leung Wai, made the application before District Court Judge Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i.

“Your Honor on this particular matter as you are aware the District Court last year found my client not guilty,” Aumua said. 

“But the Supreme Court convicted my client last week and I have a copy of the decision your honor.

 “On paragraph 67 it’s clear that the findings was one of conviction and after my client was found guilty last week Justice Mata Tuatagaloa then admitted the matter down to the District Court for sentencing.

“For the information of this court we will be filing an appeal against the decision of Justice Tuatagaloa.

“So I wonder if it’s appropriate that the proceedings of this honorable Court be stayed until the appeal is heard because we also need clarification of the Court of appeal as to what sentencing options are there since the Supreme Court has convicted my client.

“The option for example of this charge by conviction has been taken away from this honorable Court so I wonder if it’s more appropriate that the proceedings before this honorable Court be stayed until our appeal is heard by the Court of Appeal.”

After she was convicted last week, Justice Tuatagaloa referred the matter for sentencing to the District Court.

On Wednesday, the Independent prosecutor, hired by the Attorney General’s Office, Satiu Simativa Perese objected to the decision for the matter to be returned to Judge Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma, who initially acquitted Mauga.

 “Your honor I don't believe that in this case the sentencing should go back to Judge Roma,” he argued. 

“As you are aware his view of the facts was opposite the findings of the Appeal Judge, Justice Tuatagaloa. 

“It would therefore be unfair to ask Judge Roma to sentence the defendant when he didn't think she was negligent. 

“Therefore is it possible for the sentencing to be heard by Judge Atoa, who has not had any previous dealings with the defendant.”

Judge Alalatoa disagreed.

“I don’t think I agree with what you are saying Mr. Perese because in my experience this has always been the practice,” she said.

“But I’m sure my brother Judge Roma can consider your request when the matter is called before him.”

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