Court cautious over sex allegation mediation deal

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu yesterday declined to give a judgment by consent on a mediation agreement in relation to a sexual allegation made against the former Chairman of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa. 

This is despite the defendant, Angeline Lesa, being served by lawyer, Semi Leung Wai, with a motion of claim, requiring her to front before the Court. 

Mr. Leung Wai is representing the former Chairman of C.C.C.S, Rev Dr. Uili Afereti. 

During the Supreme Court civil mention, Mr. Leung Wai argued that he has done his part in serving the defendant, who again failed to appear in Court. 

He urged the Court to enter the mediated agreement by judgment for the sake of his client. 

“The difficulty is that my client needs the judgment by consent to give to the elders of the church to clear his name,” said Mr. Leung Wai.

“The mediation agreement is confidential and that is why we wanted to have it as a judgment by consent and have it as a record of the Court.”

But the Chief Justice insisted that the judgment by consent could only be given if both parties, including the defendant, gives her consent. 

“It has to be judgment by consent but if the defendant has given no consent to the judgment then I cannot give a judgment by consent,” said his Honour Patu.

But Mr. Leung Wai insisted.

He told the Court he has done his part in serving the defendant and therefore the Court should consider his application. 

In response, Chief Justice Patu said he thought that the defendant would appear yesterday but she still hasn’t turned up. 

“And I cannot enter judgment by consent without the defendant’s presence to tell the Court that she given consent,” he added. 

“What we have is a mediated agreement but the advantage of making such agreement subject of consent judgment is then you can have the powers of the Court with regards to enforcing of the mediated agreement because it has become a judgment.”

It was at this point that Mr. Leung Wai asked if the mediation agreement can be defaulted as his instructions from his client is to have the agreement in judgment by consent. 

But His Honour Patu asked the lawyer to tell his client he cannot givea judgment by consent for the reasons he has given. 

The Chief Justice also granted leave for the lawyer for Angeline Lesa, Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i, to withdraw as lawyer. 

He then moved on to the next case without announcing whether the case will proceed.

Two weeks ago Alalatoa made the application to withdraw after the lawyer was unsuccessful in finding her client when she had contacted her several times. 

Earlier this year, Rev. Afereti filed a defamation case against Angeline Lesa when he was stripped off his key roles from the Church. 

The case was referred to mediation where an agreement was reached. The details of that mediation remain confidential.

 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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