Attorney General pursues ‘justice’

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong ,

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PROSECUTOR: Satiu Simativa Perese is the independent prosecutor hired by the Office of the Attorney General to handle Mauga’s hearing.

PROSECUTOR: Satiu Simativa Perese is the independent prosecutor hired by the Office of the Attorney General to handle Mauga’s hearing.

The Office of the Attorney General, through a private prosecutor, will appeal the decision by the District Court to find suspended Director of the National Prosecution Office, Mauga Precious Chang, not guilty.

The appeal was confirmed by the Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, in a email response to questions from the Weekend Observer.

Lemalu, however, was quick to deny that the appeal is personal. 

Rather, he said the most “important consideration is justice.”

“A decision to appeal is the prerogative of the independent prosecutor to pursue,” he said.

“The final say is his, and it is a professional not a personal consideration.”

This week, District Court Judge, Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma, found Mauga not guilty of three traffic-related charges.

The charges include negligent driving causing bodily injuries, an alternative charge of dangerous driving and failure to stop to ascertain whether anyone was injured at the scene.

In response to questions from the Weekend Observer, Lemalu said the consideration of whether an appeal should be lodged is a normal decision that follows a ruling by the Court. 

Attorney General, Lemalu Herman Retzlaff.
Attorney General, Lemalu Herman Retzlaff.
SUSPENDED N.P.O. DIRECTOR: Mauga Precious Chang.
SUSPENDED N.P.O. DIRECTOR: Mauga Precious Chang.

“As you are aware, while I am the Acting Director of Public Prosecution, the decisions on this case are made by the independent prosecutor,” said the Attorney General. 

“Confirmation as to whether a decision has been made regarding lodgment of an appeal would have to come from the independent prosecutor. We will then lodge as per his professional opinion.”

Lemalu made it clear the lawyer who handled the matter at first instance remain on file for the appeal. 

That lawyer is New Zealand-based prosecutor, Satiu Simativa Perese. 

Asked if he was concerned about the cost of hiring an overseas prosecutor, Lemalu said “costs is always a consideration in litigation whether it be civil or criminal. 

“But the most important consideration is justice.” 

While a Tribunal is pending to look into the conduct of suspended Acting D.P.P. and suspended Director of N.P.O., the Office is under the watch of the Attorney General. 

Lemalu said Mauga remains suspended pending the outcome of that Tribunal.  

He added, “N.P.O. is not under the Attorney General’s office. I have been made the Acting D.P.P. at this time but the N.P.O. is still a separate body from the Attorney General’s Office.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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