Top lawyer to prosecute suspended Commissioner

The Office of the Attorney General has acquired the services of a highly-rated independent prosecutor to pursue the second batch of charges against the suspended Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil.

There are more than 200 charges filed against Fuiava by the Ministry of Police in relation to fire arms and one of incite to murder.

The suspended Commissioner has vehemently denied the allegations through his lawyer, Lei’ataualesa Komisi Koria.

Yesterday, Attorney General, Lemalu Herman Retzlaff, told the Sunday Samoan that a New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, has been appointed to handle the hearing. 

“I can confirm that an independent prosecutor has been engaged to take full carriage of the charges against the suspended commissioner of police,” said Lemalu. 

“He is Mr Nigel Hampton QC, a highly respected barrister of over 30 years experience." 

“He has been given the file sent to him directly from the N.P.O office and he will appear when the matter is called 20 February 2017.”

Up until this point, lawyers from the National Prosecution Office had been handling the matter. 

Towards the end of last year, Fuiava’s legal team sought a decision by the Court, in particular Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai, to access potential witnesses, Police records and documents in relation to the charges against him. 

“We will be entering a not guilty plea to all these charges,” Lei’ataualesa said last year.

 “These proceedings come at a great cost of the public, great expense in terms of government resources as well as the time of this honorable Court. We feel that the charges against my client are baseless and without merit.”

Mr. Hampton QC comes highly recommended.

He was the first New Zealand lawyer to work with the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague as an alternate member of the Disciplinary Appeals Board.

He originally became involved with the I.C.C. in 2007, when he also made history by becoming the first Disciplinary Commissioner of Counsel before the I.C.C., a newly created role at the time.

“It was interesting because it helped create procedures and protocols and write surrounding rules around these bodies,” he told the NZ Lawyer Magazine.

 “One highlight [was] meeting with counsel who are drawn from all around the world, not only from common law jurisdictions, but from civil law jurisdictions as well…It was an interesting exercise to try and meld two quite different systems and try and create a discipline system that is coherent and able to be understood by both the common law and civil law.”

It was 1960, and the self-professed “country boy” went to the big smoke of Christchurch to finish his education, without any idea about what he actually wanted to do.

Upon graduation in 1964, Hampton went on to work as a law clerk at local firm, the then R A Young Hunter & Co, later going into partnership there.

 By 1988, he was out on his own working as a barrister. Although litigation was always his forte, as the years went by he became almost solely focused on the criminal aspect of it.

He has also had a stint as a Chief Justice of the Kingdom of Tonga from 1995-1997.

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