A senior lawyer who is appealing the District Court’s decision in relation to the suspended Director of the National Prosecution Office has denied being disrespectful of the Supreme Court.
New Zealand-based private prosecutor, Satiu Simativa Perese, told the Samoa Observer he was simply not aware the matter was to be called this week.
On Monday, Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu struck the matter off the Court list after the non-appearance of both counsels involved in the matter.
While Satiu is representing the A.G’s Office, Mauga was represented by former Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai. The Chief Justice said the absence of both lawyers for the matter was disrespectful.
“The no appearance by any of the counsels in the matter means this is taken off the list,” His Honour Patu told the Registrar. “This is rather disrespectful to the Court to file an appeal and then the counsel filing the appeal does not appear.”
But Satiu denied the inference.
“I was not advised by the Court that the matter had been included in Monday's mentions list, otherwise I would have appeared or organised for someone to appear for me,” he said.
“Preparations of the appeal is well underway and we are awaiting the District Court’s provision of the transcript of the evidence."
“Once the transcript is provided, the appeal case book can be finalised and filed.”
Asked if he will be refilling for the appeal, Satiu said he doesn’t think so.
“Normally when a case is "stood down", it will be allocated a new date for mention and that appears to have been what happened in this case.
“I’ve been making inquiries about what happened yesterday, and have not yet heard back."
“I am curious that Mr. Leung Wai did not also appear which might indicate that he was similarly unaware that the matter was being called."
“It is a pity and regrettable that the CJ considered that I was disrespectful by not appearing in support of the appeal."
“I am not aware of any need to re-file the appeal and I will follow up the scheduling with the Court.”
The appeal follows District Court Judge, Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma’s decision to find Mauga not guilty of three traffic-related charges (see story).
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.