Sevens captain discharged without conviction

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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AVAILABLE FOR WORLD CUP: Alatasi Tupou.

AVAILABLE FOR WORLD CUP: Alatasi Tupou. (Photo: Photosport)

The suspended captain of the Manu Samoa Sevens could be named in the team for the World Cup in San Francisco next month.

It follows the District Court’s decision to discharge him without conviction on Friday.

The decision was delivered by District Court Judge Alalatoa Rosella Papalii.

Tupou, who was sent back from London to face a Samoa Rugby Union hearing, had earlier pleaded guilty to drunk driving and driving without a licence.

His lawyer, Donald Kerslake, had argued that a conviction would harm his international rugby career.

He added that Tupou had already faced intense public scrutiny in the wake of the charges.

Judge Alalatoa accepted the argument, although she still ordered him to pay Court costs.

Tupou had faced two charges, one of driving under the influence of alcohol and one of driving without a valid license. 

During the proceedings, prosecuting lawyer, Vaisala Afoa, of the Attorney General’s Office, revealed that Tupou had an outstanding warrant of arrest for a separate charge of assault.

In light of this, Mr. Kerslake told the Court the assault charge was from 2016.

 “According to my instructions from my client your honor, the assault charge occurred in 2016 and it was a family matter,” he said. “It occurred just before my client left for the United States for his contract.

Judge Alalatoa granted the application by defense counsel to cancel the warrant of arrest against Tupou. She also referred the matter to the Family and Violence Court.

At the beginning of the month, the Samoa Rugby Union suspended Alatasi from all rugby for two weeks. The suspension did not include being stood down from the team for the London and Paris legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Alatasi was sent back from London to face the Samoa Rugby Union’s High Performance Unit’s Integrity Committee following a drunken night out just before the team left.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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