Ex-Immigration officer faces 32 criminal charges

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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IN COURT: Former Immigration Officer, David Nomereta Uaine and his lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu after Court yesterday morning.

IN COURT: Former Immigration Officer, David Nomereta Uaine and his lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu after Court yesterday morning.

The Attorney General’s Office has filed 32 criminal charges against former Immigration Officer, David Nomereta Uaine.

The charges include forgery, corruption, bribery, improper issue of Samoan travel documents, unlawful recording of information from passport database and false representation. 

Uaine, of Tuana’i, appeared in Court for criminal mention before Chief Justice, his Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu yesterday.  

He has yet to enter a plea to the charges laid against him. 

Prosecuting the case was Anne Matalasi of the Attorney General’s Office. 

Uaine was represented by lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, who made an application for the Prosecutor to release the Court documents pertaining to the criminal charges against her client. 

“I would like the defendant to be well informed of the basis of the charges against him and I request the Prosecution for full disclosure of the facts that they rely on and in the hope that the defendant is placed in an informed position, prior to entering his plea,” Unasa said. 

Unasa said this was vital because of the credit he would get if he were to accept the charges, knowing full well what the basis of the charges were against the defendant. 

“The copies of the charges being provided do not contain Court reference numbers, these are crucial in my respective submissions.” 

Unasa requested the Court to release those Court referenced documents. 

Matalasi informed the Court that Prosecution statutory duties are to disclose all trial documents upon the defendant’s plea of not guilty.  

Unasa argued that procedure is applied to “simple charges and in my submission, this an exception and I’m asking and seeking to treat this case as an exception”. 

Chief Justice Patu agreed with the Prosecution.

Section 46 of the Criminal Procedure Act was cited that it is the obligation of the Prosecution to supply copies of Police statements to the Prosecutor within reasonable time before trial.  

“Which must mean that the accused has entered a plea of not guilty and is awaiting trial and then the Prosecution has an obligation to supply copies of all statements by police witnesses within a reasonable time before trial,” Chief Justice Patu said.

“So there is no duty or obligation under the Criminal Procedure Act to supply copies of police witnesses statement for the purpose of defense decision on whether to plead guilty or not guilty and that has been the practice, according to the Act.”

However, Unasa argued the Act does not say that it must exclude the request before trial before the entering of pleas. 

She informed the Court that her client is seeking the basis of the criminal charges to make an informed decision, prior to entering a plea to the charges. 

The matter has been adjourned to next week. 

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