A man and a woman found guilty of running a money-making scam in Samoa have asked the Court for permission to leave the country – and return when the Court of Appeal sits.
Nicolas Giannos and Rosita Stanfield, who are appealing their jail sentences, made the application through their lawyer, Leota Raymond Schuster.
Giannos has been handed a three-year prison term while Stanfield has received a 12-month jail term. Their sentences were handed down by Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu.
Yesterday, Leota told the Court his clients wanted to return to the United Kingdom where they are originally from. He said they have been away from their families for a long time and they want to see them.
But Prosecution lawyer, Lucy Sio, of the National Prosecution Office, objected to the application. She added that her Office had not received the application.
According to the Court’s records, however, the application from Leota was filed on 24 March 2016.
Patu then adjourned the matter until Monday 2 May 2016 for the prosecution to respond to the application.
Outside Court, Leota said the application was made because the defendants want to see their relatives in the United Kingdom.
He said the Court of Appeal does not sit until October and his clients are asking to leave jurisdiction and return when the Court resumes.
The accused are out on bail.
Giannos and Stanfield were stopped from leaving Samoa and arrested at the Faleolo International Airport last year.
Giannos and Stanfield were jointly charged with Fa’atoafe Mati Silao with eight counts of obtaining by deception pursuant to s.172 of the Crimes Act 2013.
Giannos was also charged with two individual counts of false accounting pursuant to s.198 of the Act.
At the conclusion of the evidence for the prosecution, defence counsel made a submission of no case to answer on behalf of the three accused in respect of all the charges.
The Chief Justice ruled on 8 October 2015 that there was no case to answer in relation to the accused Fa'atoafe Mati Silao in respect of the eight joint counts of obtaining by deception with which he was charged.
Those counts against Fa’atoafe were therefore dismissed and he was discharged.
The Court also ruled that there was no case to answer in reference to the accused Giannos and Stanfield being jointly charged with two counts of obtaining by deception.
That left six joint counts of obtaining by deception against Giannos and Stanfield and two individual counts of false accounting against Giannos alone.