Paulo granted bail, told to refrain from posting on social media

The man who has been publicly making allegations targeting Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi in his social media posts has been granted bail. 

Malele Paulo — also known as King Faipopo — was granted bail on the condition that he refrains from making any social media statements using any electronic device. 

District Court Judge, Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i made the decision Monday when Paulo took the stand again where an additional charge was made against him.

He has been charged with making a defamatory statement which was posted on a Facebook status that caused harm to the reputation of the Prime Minister on 17 May 2019. The charge is in addition to 13 similar charges of making defamatory statements against Tuilaepa through a video on Facebook posted August last year. 

Through his lawyer Unasa Iuni Sapolu, Malele has pleaded not guilty to the additional charge and has also pleaded not guilty to the initial 13 charges. 

Malele has been in custody since Thursday last week and had asked to be released on bail. 

But prosecutor and Attorney General’s Office lawyer, Iliganoa Atoa opposed the bail application. 

One of the reasons Ms. Atoa opposed the bail application is due to what she described as high risk of Malele re-offending by continuously making posts on Facebook. 

She told the Court that the defendant had recently posted another status and that he will not stop posting on Facebook. 

“The risk is the defendant is re-offending whilst on bail,” she said. 

“He continues to act out similar offences pending the Court matter. 

“The high risk is that he is still using electronic communication to make statements in relation to our complainant, interfering with witnesses and prosecution.” 

At this point Judge Alalatoa shook her head at Malele, indicating to him not to disrupt the Court proceedings, as he was trying to speak up when the prosecution opposed his bail application. 

On the other hand, Unasa argued that the prosecution did not impose a condition for Malele not to use social media, when he was on bail. 

“He has the benefit of all that and there was no specific condition raised by prosecution in relation to not use his phone,” said the lawyer. 

“Secondly, my learned friend said he has reoffending. 

"My client has pleaded not guilty therefore it’s an allegation and so its not an offence yet, it has not been proven.”

Judge Alalatoa then granted bail and told Malele to “stay out of trouble”. 

She reminded the Australian-based Samoan that he had wanted to leave the country in the beginning of his case. 

“If you are charged again it will only prolong your stay here which you will not leave anytime sooner,” she said. 

“You are forbidden from posting any more adverse posts on Facebook or use any form of device to post on Facebook or any social media. 

“There was no specific condition from prosecution in their previous application and today I’m putting that condition in place. 

“You must comply and refrain, forbidden from posting any more adverse posts. 

“Secondly you are not to be charged with anymore alleged offences.”

Malele is also required to sign with the Apia Police station on Fridays and his traveling documents have been surrendered. 

He apologised to the Judge for his behaviour inside Court before the matter was adjourned.  

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