Court Assessors take oath

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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Tofilau Malu Faalaaitaua with his proud family.

Tofilau Malu Faalaaitaua with his proud family.

Twenty-one new assessors for the Land and Titles Court were sworn in yesterday morning before Chief Justice, His Honour, Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu at Mulinu’u.

Of the 21 assessors, four are women, including media veteran To’alepai Rula Su’a-Vaai.

Chief Justice Patu reminded the new Assessors that their independence and honesty in making decisions is vital.

“These are essential to maintaining the belief and confidence of the people in the Justice System,” said Chief Justice Patu. 

“The law is not discriminatory. It is the same for the weak, the rich, the poor and the ordinary man.

“The law is not discriminatory because of the language or the colour of a person. 

It’s not discriminatory because of religious or other beliefs as a person, but all are equal under the law and before the trial.”

Chief Justice Patu added the oath said they would do the right thing to all kinds of people without fear.

“One of the natural human nature is fear and fear of those who threaten you, and you fear those who are stronger than you,” he said.

“Or that's why you're afraid to make a decision that might make some people angry with you, and say the word of the allegory to take away your fears and do the right thing.

Chief Justice Patu said it is not easy to carry out the legal role of an Assessor in the Land and Titles Court. 

Faanuulua Emelio Leti Tialavea with his relatives.
Faanuulua Emelio Leti Tialavea with his relatives.
Toalepai Rula Sua Vaai (middle) with her proud relatives.
Toalepai Rula Sua Vaai (middle) with her proud relatives.

“Probably this is why some of the judges sometimes say that when they sit on their seat as judges, it is only him and God during the decision making.

“This means the assessor will not become a normal person, but rather he or she relies on God to make the right decision.”

Speaking to the Weekend Observer, Assessor To’alepai said she is following her father, Su’a Mulitalo Suapi Su’a’s footsteps.

She dedicates her new role to her father.

Mrs. Vaai is the youngest of the class of assessors that were sworn in yesterday.

“What the Chief Justice said today (yesterday) about being independent when making decisions, being honest as well as unbiased are some things that we as assessors need to follow,” she said.

“I will do my work with dignity and honesty and I am humbled to serve our country through this position of being an assessor.”

Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration C.E.O, Taimalelagi John Papali’i, said they plan to also swear in 20 Assessors in Savai’i in May. 

“The aim is to have as many assessors as we can so that they may be able to work and make decisions in the Lands and Titles Court.”

Prior to yesterday, there were only three Assessors for Upolu.

“This is why Chief Justice Patu decided that it is time to have more Assessors,” he said.

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