Court accepts counter claim, strikes out third allegation
The Supreme Court has rejected a strike out motion on two counter allegations filed against former Member of Parliament for Alataua West, Lafaitele Patrick Leiataualesa.
However, in Lafaitele’s favour, the Court accepted a strike out motion on the third counter allegation against his witness who was also a candidate, Aiolupotea Visekota Peteru.
The three counter petition allegations were filed by newly elected M.P for Alataua West, Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tu’uau through her lawyer, Amelia Fa’asau.
It followed a petition from Lafaitele alleging bribery against Ali’imalemanu during the General Election.
Lawyer Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu and Unasa Iuni Sapolu are representing Lafaitele.
The decision was made by a panel of Supreme Court Judges chaired by the Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu.
The others are Justice Mata Tuatagaloa, Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and Justice Lesatele Rapi Va’ai.
In delivering the decision, His Honour Patu said the two counter allegations against the petitioner are allowed to proceed.
But the “third counter allegation against the petitioner’s witness, Aiolupotea Visekota is struck out and costs are reserved,” he said.
The Chief Justice told the Court that the reasons for the decision will be provided to the lawyers in writing.
The first counter petition alleges bribery and corrupt practices in Neiafu where Lafaitele made a general statement that he could not reciprocate the fa’aaloalo due to the law but he will reciprocate fa’aaloalo after the election.
The second counter petition is similar but on a different occasion during a church dance (tausala) where Lafaitele had allegedly made a statement he would not give anything due to the law but he will reciprocate after the election.
In his submission, lawyer Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu argued that the petitioner’s intention was to follow the law when he made the statement he could not reciprocate due to the law.
Sapolu made reference to an affidavit where a witness mentioned that Lafaitele had said win or lose, he would give back to the village.
He added that the former M.P was aware of the law and would give back to the village in accordance to the law.
But Mrs. Fa’asau disagreed.
She argued that if the petitioner had no intention of breaking the law, he would not make such a promise to reciprocate.
“The statement was made to induce the villagers (to vote for him),” she said.
The matter has been adjourned for hearing.