Dispute between A.G., N.P.O. settled

The clash between the Attorney General’s Office and the National Prosecution Office over who would prosecute the suspended Director of the National Prosecution Office, Mauga Precious Chang, has been resolved. 

As such, the proceedings were discontinued before the Supreme Court yesterday. 

Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu, presided.

Mauga has pleaded not guiltyto charges of negligent driving causing injury and dangerous driving, for which she has been suspended. She is represented by former Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai.

When the matter was called before District Court Judge VaepuleVaemoaVaai two weeks ago, confusion arose as to which lawyer was the prosecutor.

Two senior lawyers were present. One was Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu, who appeared on behalf of the N.P.O while New Zealand-based lawyer, Satiu SimativaPerese, was there based on instructions from the Office of the Attorney General.

The differences of opinions resulted in an application for clarity filed with the Supreme Court. The arguments were to be heard yesterday.

But when the matter was called, the lawyer appearing for the Attorney General’s Office, Helene Wallwork-Lamb, said the parties had reached an agreement. 

She asked for the matter to be discontinued.

Matafeo George Latu, who appeared on behalf ofTaulapapa,supported the motion and asked for the application to be struck out.

His HonourPatu granted the application and struck out the matter.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer outside the Court, Mrs. Lamb confirmed that the parties had met to discuss the issue and they have agreed to discontinue the proceedings. 

“They have resolved all the issues between them and you will hear from the Attorney General later on today.At least the proceedings is discontinued.” 

At press time last night, it still could not be determined who would be the prosecutor.

Attempts to obtain a comment from Attorney General, Lemalu Herman Retzlaff were not successful. 

But Mrs. Lamb said the only reason the Attorney General brought the proceedings against the N.P.O is because he believe a defendant in any case should not have the ability to appoint their own prosecutor. 

She was not at liberty to disclose what had been agreed to.

 “Yes they have agreed for the person to prosecute but I am not authorized to give that information out.” 

The Acting Director of the National Prosecution Office, Muriel Lui, confirmed the agreement but also remained mum about the details.

“We will probably put out a press release,” she said.“I don’t want to give out any comment because I’m not sure if the legal documents have already been sorted out.”

The Samoa Observer understands that the prosecutor would be an independent locally-based lawyer.

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