Suppression request rejected

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected an application by a man accused of sexually assaulting a Norwegian woman climbing the Mt. Vaea trail last year.

Prisoner Daniel Vailopa sought name suppression from Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Warren yesterday, after he pleaded guilty to the charges against him. 

The convict also pleaded guilty to the theft of a cell-phone belonging to the victim. 

The victim, whose name is suppressed, was working in Samoa at the time of the incident.

Through his lawyer Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i, Vailopa asked if the name suppression could also cover him because “of his concerns about being (identified) in the media”.

But the lawyer from National Prosecution Office, Leone Mailo-Su’a objected.

She told the Court it is of public interest that the defendant’s name is not suppressed. 

Justice Tafaoimalo agreed with the prosecution and denied the suppression of Vailopa’s identity. 

When Vailopa took the stand to enter his plea, he smiled as he nodded his head to indicate his guilty plea. 

The Court heard that on 2 August 2015,Vailopa escaped from Tafa’igata Prison.

He made his way to Vailima where he attempted to sexually violate the victim on the popular Mount Vaea climb towards Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave. 

On the same day, he also stole a cell-phone valued at A$2,000.

Other charges against Vailopaincluded common assault, being armed with a dangerous weapon, intent of sexual violation were withdrawn.

JusticeTafaoimalo adjourned the matter until 21st October for sentencing.

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