Chief Justice Patu Falefatu Sapolu has taken issue with what he said are adverse media reports regarding the court granting legal aid to criminal offenders.
His comments were made during the criminal mentions this week. The Chief Justice did not name which media outlet he was referring to, but stated, “a certain newspaper”.
Patu who spoke in Samoan, said the issue have been reported on cases involving sexual offenders by “a certain newspaper”.
“The court has granted legal aid for certain defendants to be paid by the government.
“I don’t know why it’s called legal aid, but I tell you, the media: everyone has the right under the Constitution, anyone criminally charged including sexual offenders may request the court’s Registrar for legal representation which is paid for by the government,” he explained.
He reiterated that it is under the Constitution.
“It’s allowed and it’s embedded in bold under the Constitution.”
He further emphasised that this is the judiciary’s obligation under the Constitution and the court does not do it for any other reason.
“It’s under the Constitution that anyone who has been charged has the right to an attorney, including the sexual offenders and in incest cases,” he pointed out.