Prosecution oppose Paulo’s request to leave country

A variation of the bail application from Malele Atofu Paulo to leave the country and return for a hearing in June this year has been strongly opposed by the prosecution. 

Paulo, also known as King Faipopo, faces 13 charges of making defamatory statements against Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.  He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

In the District Court today, lawyer Josefina Fuimaono Sapolu represented Paulo while Iliganoa Atoa was the prosecutor. District Court Judge, Alalatoa Rosella Viane Papali’i presided the matter.

Ms. Sapolu told the Court her client wishes to leave the jurisdiction and will be filing supplementary affidavit for surety. 

She pointed out that Paulo needs to pay for an itinerary that shows he will be returning on June 19 for his hearing. 

A bank statement as well as a vehicle ownership will be tendered before the Court together with supplementary affidavit for surety, the Court heard. 

However, Ms. Sapolu said she was not ready to proceed yesterday as she needs to address the issues in her submission and opposition of such application from prosecution. 

But if the hearing is pushed forward to April, the defense lawyer indicated that it is possible that the application for Paulo to leave the jurisdiction might not be necessary. 

Ms. Atoa responded that the prosecution has no objection to adjourning the matter to Monday. 

But she advised the Court that the Attorney General’s Office including herself will be engaged in a training next week and will not be available for the hearing until next month.

The prosecutor added she will be available for submissions on the bail variation application on Monday afternoon. 

Judge Alalatoa noted the matter raised by prosecution and confirmed the Judiciary has received a letter on the training and criminal matters will not be called next week. 

“Given the strong objection by prosecution that is the only other option is to bring the hearing forward so we can have hearing as soon as possible,” said the Judge. 

“It is possible and one I would encourage counsel to engage in discussion on how realistic we can bring the hearing forward and also the availability of witnesses. 

“Once we set it down for special fixture it means that whoever is giving evidence from both sides need to be available.” 

The matter has been adjourned to Monday March 25 to hear Paulo's application to leave the jurisdiction. 

The charges against the accused stemmed from video posts made on social media where he allegedly made defamatory allegations against the Prime Minister. 

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