Court grants suspended President’s application to leave country

The Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava'asu'e Falefatu Sapolu, has granted the application by the suspended President of the Land and Titles Court, Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati, to travel outside Samoa.

The decision was relayed in the Supreme Court on Monday where Fepulea’i appeared. 

Fepulea’i told the Court he is taking his mother overseas but he was unable to provide the exact date of travel because they are still waiting for the visa to be approved.

The matter involving the suspended President is a longstanding one. It dates back to an incident where he allegedly assaulted a security officer during a party at Mulinu’u.

Fepulea’i, 55, allegedly struck the security officer with a bottle and threw a punch at him.

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He was charged by the Police and he appeared before the District Court in July this year, where he pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm. 

Following a full trial, the presiding District Court Judge, Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i, discharged him without conviction.

But the Attorney General’s Office moved to appeal the matter.

In November 2018, Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke upheld the appeal by the Attorney General and quashed the discharge without conviction.

He ruled that the matter should be remitted back to the District Court for a re-trial, with the direction that section 17 of the Sentencing Act 2016 is applied.

In response, Fepulea’i’s lawyer, Aumua Ming Leung Wai, told the District Court they are filing a cross appeal on the move by the Attorney General’s Office. 

Judge Alalatoa has since referred the matter to the Supreme Court for mention.  

In Court on Monday, the Chief Justice granted the application on the condition that Fepulea’i submits his return ticket to the Attorney General’s Office prior to his departure. 

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