Trial date set for Alatise Leafa Vitale and Fagatua Niupo

Alatise Leafa Vitale, the man convicted of murdering former Cabinet Minister, the late Luagalau Levaula Kamu, is among two men charged with the theft of over 200 cartons of beers who will face trial in March next year.

Vitale and Fagatua Niupo appeared before Chief Justice Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu for mention on Monday morning.

The two accused did not have legal representation. 

Leone Su’a-Mailo of the Attorney General’s Office acted for the prosecution. 

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The hearing has now been set for March 4-5, 2019.

Last month, Vitale and Fagatua Niupo pleaded not guilty to two charges of theft for allegedly stealing over 200 cartons of beer worth more than US$6,000 from a distributor in Savai’i. 

According to the police fact sheet, the crime was committed in August 2017 and February 2018.

Vitale has a criminal record, having been convicted in 1999 for the murder of Samoan Cabinet Minister Luagalau Levaula Kamu and given life imprisonment. 

Earlier this year, the Court heard that Alatise had been on parole since 2010. 

The Court did not accept a submission from the Attorney General's Office for him to be remanded in custody for breaching his parole conditions.

Presiding judge at that time, Justice Leilani Tuala-Warren, said the accused was still innocent until proven guilty.

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