Sexual connection cases before Court
Sexual connection cases were presented before Chief Justice Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu during the criminal mention on Monday.
In one of the matters, a young man from one of the villages in the Faleata District and Aiga Le Tai District, pleaded guilty to one charge of attempted rape and two charges of burglary.
A suppression order was issued in the Supreme Court against the victim as well as the defendant.
Chief Justice Patu asked the defendant whether he wanted to engage a counsel, but the accused replied no.
Prosecution was Lucy Sio of the Attorney General’s Office.
In reading out the charges, the incident occurred in one of the villages in the Faleata districts where the defendant tried to rape the victim.
The other incident occurred on 13 April, 2017, where the defendant unlawfully entered the home of the complainant.
On the second incident, he again illegally entered the home of the complainant at night.
“The Court has noted down your guilty pleas to the charges against you,” he told the defendant.
“This matter is adjourned to 30 April, 2018, for the summary of facts from the Police and a pre-sentence report from the probation officer.
“This matter will be called before Supreme Court Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa.”
In a different matter, a step-father also appeared before Court on 12 criminal charges.
Prosecution was Lucy Sio while Defense counsel was Leota Tima Leavai.
Leota told the Court that there are 12 charges against her client.
An order of name suppression was issued against the defendant as well as the victim given their relationship.
Ms. Sio told the Court that the defendant has pleaded guilty to five charges of sexual connection, but not guilty to the charges of sexual violation.
“Your honour, after speaking to my client, he has pleaded guilty to five charges and not guilty to the rest of the charges.
“Your Honour, we will still proceed with the charges that the defendant has pleaded not guilty to,” she told the Court.
Ms. Leavai also made an application for the Chief Justice to grant bail for her client.
However, prosecution Ms. Sio strongly opposed bail, saying the victim is the defendant’s step daughter and he should be out on bail.
“We strongly opposed bail your honour because the accused is the stepfather of the victim,” she said.
“So the victim is not safe when the defendant is granted bail.”
But Ms. Leavai didn’t buy it. She told the Court the step daughter is now in the care of the Samoa Victim Support Group.
“I have been informed that the victim is under the care of the Samoa victim Support, she’s away from the presence of my client,” she said.
“So the victim is safe and my client does not have any previous convictions as well, so he is a first time offender.
“And the hearing is in August, so it’s too long for my client to be remanded in custody.”
Chief Justice Patu adjourned the matter for next week Tuesday for a bail hearing.
“The accused’s plea of guilty to five charges has been noted down and his not guilty plea to the remaining charges is also noted,” said Chief Justice Patu.
“This matter is adjourned on the week commencing the 20th August 2018 and you will still be remanded in custody for the time being until next week Tuesday, so that your counsel can provide the Court with a written application and reasons you should be granted bail.”
In another matter, an 18-year-old pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual connection against a girl under 16 years old.
A suppression order was also issued for the defendant as well as the victim.
The incidents occurred on different dates.
The first incident was on 19 February, while the second incident occurred on 4 March, 2018.
Chief Justice Patu adjourned the matter to 30 April, 2018, for a report from the probation office as well as a Police summary of facts.
The matter will be called before Justice Vaepule Vaemoa Vaai.