King Faipopo's lawyer files new motion

The hearing of a man charged for making defamatory statements against Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has been adjourned. 

Malele Paulo, better known as King Faipopo, was due to have his hearing on Thursday.

However, the matter has been further adjourned following a new motion from Paulo's legal team arguing that the Court in Samoa does not have the jurisdiction to deal with the matter.

The application was filed by Paulo's lawyers, Unasa Iuni Sapolu and Josefina Sapolu Fuimaono.

Iliganoa Atoa, of the Attorney General's Office, is the prosecutor with District Court Judge, Alalatoa Rosella Papalii, presiding.

At the core of Unasa's motion for exclusion of jurisdiction is their argument that the videos posted by King Faipopo, where he made allegations against the Prime Minister, were recorded and posted in Australia. Therefore, she said, the local Courts do not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter.  

Prior to the application, Ms. Atoa told the Court the prosecution was ready to proceed with the hearing. They had also provided the list of witnesses ready to give evidence. 

But Judge Alalatoa said given the application targets the issue of jurisdiction as to whether the Court can hear the matter, the hearing cannot proceed until the motion is heard and dealt with.

She told the counsels she expects their submission to be “top notch” and to cover various areas. These areas include what Parliament’s intention was on the Crimes Act section 4 and 6 that prosecution relied on to prosecute Paulo. 

“For example if the intention (of the Act) covers cyber crime and situation where a person resides overseas posts something about a person here or about a person residing in another country or another jurisdiction,” said Judge Alalatoa. 

“Secondly, when was the offence committed and when was it completed...Thirdly, consider extraterritorial legislation and enactment as well as private and public law.” 

She also invited the lawyers to make submission on any relevant matter that can support their position. 

When Paulo raised his hand in Court, Judge Alalatoa told him she does not want any dramas. 

She reminded the accused that he has two lawyers representing him and they are his voice in Court. 

The matter has been adjourned until 27 May 2019. 

Paulo is charged with 13 counts of making defamatory statements against the Prime Minister. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges. 

He is remanded on bail pending his next appearance in Court. 

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