Woman to sue Govt. over alleged “abuse of power”

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Ministry of Police.

Ministry of Police. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

A woman who claims to have been unlawfully detained by the Ministry of Police in April last year is suing the Government for an undisclosed amount.

The law firm acting on behalf of Katerinauatalia Lesatele, Lui and Chang, has officially informed the Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, about the lawsuit.

It has done this in a letter titled “Notice of Proposed Proceeding,” dated 2 May 2018 addressed to the Attorney General. 

The lawsuit is in connection to the Government led hunt for an online blogger known as “Ole Palemia”. The Police had arrested the woman as part of the hunt.

But the woman from Leone has returned to sue the Government.

“Take Notice that the Prospective Plaintiff intends to file in the Supreme Court Justice a lawsuit against the Prospective defendant, the Commissioner of Police, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, Ministry of Police, along with Police officer Susirita Tufuga, Police officer Hanaia Lene and Police Officer Perry Isopo,” the letter reads.

The Government is being accused of being “negligence, false imprisonment and/or unlawful detention, breach of constitutional rights, abuse of power/abuse of process/ misfeasance in public officer, breach of statute and malicious prosecution.” 

According to the notice on 12 April, 2017, Ms. Lesatele was arrested and charged with harassment under section 219 of the Crimes Act 2013. 

“She was then taken in Police Custody until 17 April, 2017. 

“On the hearing date of the matter, the prosecution withdrew all charges.

“The Ministry of Police and/or Commissioner of Police will be sued in their capacity as employer of the Police Officers involved in this case. Therefore, vicarious liability will be pleaded,” the notice said.  

Acting Attorney General Sefo Ainu’u confirmed with the Samoa Observer they have received the said notice by letter from the law firm of Lui & Chang acting on behalf of Katerinauatalia Lesatele.  

“In terms of the comment you seek, unfortunately we cannot comment at this time until we receive instructions regarding this matter.” 

Emails to Commissioner of Police and Police Superintendent and Media Spokesperson, Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo, have not been answered as of press time.

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