Judge puts village council in spotlight

Supreme Court Justice Vui Clarence Nelson has questioned why the Apia village council has not penalised Paulo Afamasaga who pleaded guilty to drug charges. 

In October 2012 the Police executed a search warrant on the property of the defendant at Malifa, as he was suspected to have been engaged in dealing in illicit narcotics. They uncovered methamphetamine, marijuana and a live bullet. 

Justice Vui noted that there is nothing before the Court to indicate that the defendant received a village penalty for his actions. 

“After all Paulo you may be resident in the United States of America, but when you are here, you reside in your village of Apia and are a recognized member of that community. 

“And your offence was committed within the confines of the village of Apia. For some reason you have been given a free pass by the village. 

The Judge then became critical of the failure by the village council to take action. 

“Why I do not know. But this is a practice not to be encouraged or condoned. Perhaps the village regards possession of ice and marijuana as trivial and not worth penalising. If this is so the Alii and Faipule of Apia should seriously reconsider their position.”

The Supreme Court Justice then put it to Lefau Harry Schuster, who is a high ranking chief of Apia village “and he understands exactly what I am talking about”.

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