Man’s plea save him

A plea from a defendant before the District Court that he had difficulty bearing the costs of attending a case due to Police insufficiency of multiple adjournments freed him yesterday.  

Sekolasitika Mataafa appeared before District Court Judge, Vaepule Vaemoa Va’ai.  

Prosecutor Silipa Uelese read out that the defendant is charged with contempt of Court. 

However, she told the Court that Police was not ready to proceed because they did not have all the information needed to proceed with the matter yesterday. 

It was at that point that Mr. Mataafa put up his hand and made his comments. 

“With respect to the Judge and the Court, this matter between me and Police has been called for the fourth time,” pleaded the defendant. 

“The last time it was called, your Honour said it would be the last adjournment otherwise the charges will be dismissed. With much respect I request that an application to adjourn the case again should be denied for reasons that I live very far away. 

“It is very difficult for me to find transport to attend the Court cases and I spend money to get here and as hard as it is I try my best to get a ride to get here…even today despite the bad weather I still came.”

The prosecutor was then asked about the request from the defendant. 

Ms. Uelese said police will be ready to prosecute but they did not have the copy of information they needed. 

But Judge Vaepule said that was not the defendant’s fault. 

“How about the interest of defendant on costs, who will bare that?” asked Vaepule.

In response the prosecutor said it was up to the Court’s discretion to make a decision on that. 

The Judge pointed out that the matter was called on 21st March and was called again on 5th April which was adjourned for police to finalise charges. 

It was adjourned again to 19th April on the same request to finalise charges and it was scheduled to called last week but the Court was not available. 

Judge Vaepule said it was not the defendant’s problem that police did not have the information. 

“It’s unfair to the defendant.”

He then dismissed the charges on the basis there was insufficient particulars.

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