Prisoners attack media

Two of the most notorious criminals in Samoa attacked a Samoa Observer journalist outside of the Supreme Court on Monday.

Notorious thief Faigame Vaitoelau spilled what appears to have been water from a soda can on Samoa Observer journalist, Pai Mulitalo Ale, while rapist Lauititi Tualima lunged at the reporter throwing an unopened bottle of water at her. He missed and he had to be restrained by the Police who pushed him inside the vehicle.

The attack happened as they were escorted from the Court to a Police van, with no less than five Police officers present. 

The attack was caught on video by another journalist working for Newsline who had covered the men’s hearing.

The men were among prisoners escorted to the Police van when they made the attempt to assault the reporter. 

Mrs. Ale was not hurt but said she was alarmed that these men would do something like that in broad daylight, in front of Police officers.

“It really shows the kind of people they are,” she said. “They don't care about breaking the law anymore. They did that while the Police officers were there.”

Minutes before the attack, Vaitoelau, who is notorious for escaping from Tafa’igata Prison, had appeared before Justice Vui Clarence Nelson where he had pleaded guilty to multiple charges including burglary, being armed with a dangerous weapon, wilful damage, assault and theft. 

Vaitoelau did not dispute the police summary of facts.

But he said he should have appeared with Lauititi because they are both guilty of the same things.

Justice Vui intervened and reminded him that was none of his business.

At that point, Vaitoelau begged the Court for a second chance.

“I have a 23 year term of imprisonment,” he said. “I have wasted many years of my life and I need to go back home to see my parents and my family.

“I am remorseful. I beg you to give me one more chance. I am a changed person now and I will never do anything bad anymore.”

The matter was then adjourned for sentencing later in the afternoon.

Justice Vui had also considered the request by Vaitoelau that he should be sentenced together with Tualima.

He asked lawyer, Fuifui Ioane, of the National Prosecution Office, as to why Tualima had not appeared together with Vaitoelau. 

Ms. Ioane told the Court Tualima had pleaded not guilty to the charge of possession of narcotics and the hearing has been scheduled for August.

In the end, Justice Vui scheduled Vaitoelau and Tualima’s sentencing for 14 March 2016. 

But it didn't take long for Vaitoelau and Tualima to reoffend.

Minutes after Vaitoelau had begged Justice Vui for a second chance, saying he was a changed man, he and Tualima attacked Mrs. Ale, who has been covering their cases since the beginning.

Contacted for a comment, the Media Officer for the Prisons, Sagaga Galu Frost, said the prisoners should have been hand cuffed outside Court.

He said they are regarded as highly dangerous and protocols dictate that they should be carefully monitored by Prison officers or Police anytime they are in contact with the public.

Video - Masele Peseta

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