Lawyer says wrong woman arrested in Police hunt

By Ilia L. Likou 19 April 2017, 12:00AM

The Police hunt for an online blogger known as “Ole Palemia” has taken an interesting twist.

Last week, the Police arrested and accused a single mother in relation to the blog. 

She was apparently held in custody for five days; two in Apia and three at Tafa’igata Prison. 

The woman is known online as “Stoira.” It was not possible to get a comment from yesterday.

Police Spokesperson, Su’a Tiumalu, did not have details about the matter when he was contacted for a comment yesterday.

But the woman’s lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, confirmed the incident yesterday saying the Police have got the wrong person. 

Unasa and her son who is also a lawyer, Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, have offered to take on the case.

“She was released from prison yesterday (Monday) and we are now looking into the matter,” Unasa said.

“In this case, a character posted a blog up by the name of ‘O LE PALEMIA’ ‘OLP. I don’t know who he is but I think my client was held in custody because they thought it was her.”

Unasa said they are trying to find what charges her client was held over.

“The thing is while she was still inside (police custody) ‘OLP’ was still posting,” Unasa said. “She didn’t have her phone (with her at the time) but they basically arrested her.

“They (police) mistakenly arrested and accused her of being ‘OLP’ or ‘O LE PALEMIA’ but she’s not.”

Unasa also told about the developments following the woman’s arrest.

“On Thursday, the Registrar of the Court turned up and bailed her out. She was about to leave and she gathered her things. The Registrar had left.

“But then the police came and rearrested her again (on Thursday) so she was in custody from Wednesday to Thursday (at Apia).”

Unasa said she only found out about the matter on Friday.

 “I think the thing that really got me and my son Eliota involved, is the fact there is a five-year-old child here,” Unasa said.

“I mean a five-year-old needs his mother at home and that’s how we got involved and we thought well we’ve got to stand up.

“Then, I went over to Tafaigata, I went on Friday...but they said that no one is allowed...and of course, it’s such a bad time to arrest a mother.

“The fact of the matter is - they said they arrested her on Wednesday released her on Thursday and rearrested her (Thursday).

 “Why did they arrest her if they hadn’t completed their investigation? In fact, their investigations are no way near to complete.”

The lawyer said the move by Police was totally “dumb.”

“This is the most important weekend for the Christian Faith is Easter,” she added.

“But what happened. ‘OLP’ is accused of the thing against ‘stigmata’ whatever it may called, and so here we are, take the woman,  lock her up and say ohh...sorry, we didn’t complete our investigation, it’s so dumb!”

“The person accused as ‘OLP’ was inside (custody) and she was still posting? I mean posting from your hands (while still in prison)...this is so dumb! 

“Whoever organised the arrest of this woman needs to really look at the process again...the power of the police are being abused and misused.”

Last month, the Police opened an investigation to find “Ole Palemia.”

The search was initiated after former E.F.K.S Reverend, Opapo Oeti, lodged a complaint to the Police about allegations made by the blog against him, his daughter Toa Opapo Patrick and his family.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer at the time, Su’a said the blog has done a lot of damage to Opapo and his family’s reputation and they have been victimised because of what it contained.

Su’a said such a crime falls under Article 219 of the Crimes Act 2013. 

 “This falls under the utilising means of electronic communication section of the Crimes Act 2013.”

According to Su’a a person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years who intentionally initiates any electronic communication, with the intent to harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person. 

By Ilia L. Likou 19 April 2017, 12:00AM

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