Captured prison escapee asks Court for legal aid

Prison escapee Aniseko Vaelei who was captured last month appeared before the Supreme Court today for criminal mention. 

Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu presided the matter with Lucy Sio Ofoia the prosecutor. 

When Vaelei took the accused stand, he was asked by the Chief Justice if he wanted to represent himself or requests legal aid. 

In response, Vaelei said he wanted a lawyer as part of legal aid. 

Mrs. Ofoia then asked the Court for adjournment for two weeks for Police to finalise charges against the accused. The matter was adjourned for April 1 for Vaelei to find a lawyer and prosecution to finalise the charges. 

Vaelei is one of two prisoners that fled Tafaigata prison on Sunday 24 January. The other prison escapee who remains at large is Pati Chong Nee. 

The pair is alleged to have been involved in a break-in at Moamoa on February 4 where canned food, cigarettes and alcohol were allegedly stolen. 

Vaelei is also suspected to be one of two men who allegedly attacked a Chinese owner’s home at Vailoa Faleata on February 21. The business claimed a sum of $60,000 was stolen and several people from the business were assaulted during the home invasion. 

A statement from the Samoa Police Service at the time stated a tip from the public culminated in the capture of Vaelei and a sum of $10,000 cash was recovered.   

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