A man accused over a package intercepted by Customs Officers at the Fagali’i Airport, which contained methamphetamine, has had his bail application denied yesterday in Supreme Court.
The decision over the application by defence counsel Arthur Lesā was delivered by Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu yesterday.
Scott Robert Barlow is one of the two men accused of importing “ice” however the other accused has already been granted bail.
The prosecutor was lawyer Ofisa Tagaloa of the Attorney General’s office.
During the bail hearing Mr. Tagaloa put to the court the three reasons why the prosecution was opposing bail.
“The first one is the risk that the accused may fail to appear in the trial given that he has previous convictions,” said Tagaloa.
“The second risk is that the accused might tamper with evidence or interfere with the prosecution witnesses as our main witness is the taxi driver who is an employee of the accused.
“The third risk is that the accused may reoffend given that he has previous convictions as well as he is still under supervision for three years and he has reoffended again.”
However Defence Counsel Arthur Lesa made it clear in the court that the main witness for the prosecution is not an employee of the accused.
“One of the main concerns of the prosecution is that one of their main witnesses is an employee of my client,” Mr. Lesa told the court.
“I have been informed by my client that the said witness is not his.
“The witness is a taxi driver that the defendant and Mrs. Barlow occasionally contact to pick up their children from school from time to time but he is not an employee of the defendant.”
However Chief Justice Patu, denied a bail application but set a hearing date for the matter.
“Now having heard both counsels I have decided not to grant bail essentially because of this,” he said.
“There are three types of risks that the court has to consider when determining a bail application.
“The first one is whether there is a real and significant risk that the accused will not appear at his trial, but will abscond.
“Now with the evidence given by the prosecution I am not satisfied that risk has been made as a real significant risk.
“The second risk is that the accused may tamper with the evidence or interfere with the prosecution witnesses.
“Given what I have heard from counsel for the prosecution I am satisfied that there is a risk, a real and significant one that given your relationship with this key witness for the prosecution, there might be tampering or interference.
“I am not saying that you are going to contact him and say to him “please help me”, no that is not what I am saying.
“But what I’m saying is that as long as there is a risk then the court has to be very careful about granting bail.
“And then the third risk is whether there is a real and significant risk that the accused may reoffend while on bail and I am satisfied that there is a risk of that.
“So Mr. Barlow I’m afraid that I have to uphold the bail objections from the prosecution and not grant you bail.
“But I direct that this case be set down for hearing on the week commencing the 4th of September.
“The accused has already been in custody for some time and it will not be in the interests of justice that he remain in custody longer than necessary.”