Attempted murder accused asks for early hearing date

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia – Ah Tong 26 February 2019, 12:00AM

The man accused of attempted murder of a woman that was shot in the face wants an early hearing date as he has been remanded since early January. 

Making the request through his lawyer Leota Tima Leavai, Peter Tulaga Eliesa has asked that the hearing should be scheduled earlier than May this year.

Leota made the request before Supreme Court Judge, Honourable Chief Justice, Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu yesterday during criminal mention.  

The prosecutor lawyer Lucy Sio – Ofoia told the Court the matter was called for an early hearing date and request for the week commencing May 13, 2019. 

“It is an early hearing date for us,” she said. 

But Leota argued that the date is three months from today and the given date does not reflect their priority.  

“We oppose to the date as prosecution during submission when bail was denied, and the understanding of an early hearing date, because the defendant has been remanded since January,” she pointed out. 

“The prosecution at the time did stress the need to prioritise the case but now we have to wait…it’s not fair on the accused, he is a businessman and he wants to return to his work.” 

Chief Justice Patu reminded the lawyer that looking back at the history of bail in Court, there have been accused remanded for periods of more than six months. 

“But we have trials in the last three years, in other jurisdiction accused are kept in custody awaiting trial for more than 12 months,” he explained. 

“Samoa is well ahead in terms of short demand in custody where (accused) plead not guilty.”

Patu ruled the matter to be adjourned for hearing to the week commencing 13 May. 

“The accused remain in custody but the defense counsel may continue to liaise with prosecution for an earlier date than the week commencing 13 May 2019.” 

Eliesa is charged with one count of attempted murder in connection with the attempted murder of Frysna Rimoni. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. 

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia – Ah Tong 26 February 2019, 12:00AM

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