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No appeal filed on Malietoa and 15 other chiefs

The Office of the Attorney General is not appealing a decision from the District Court to dismiss contempt of court charges against Malietoa Fa’amausili Moli and 15 other chiefs from the village of Malie.

A senior court registrar confirmed that the Attorney General’s office did not file an appeal within the 14 days required to appeal the matter. 

District Court Judge, Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i handed down the decision in May to dismiss the contempt of court charges against Malietoa and the chiefs of Malie. 

In her ruling, Judge Alalatoa said it is unfair to trial the accused on an offence that amounts to an abuse of process. 

She said the charge against Malietoa and his co-accused was a primary example of such. 

“Accordingly, I rule that the charge against the 16 accused are permanently stayed and dismissed,” Judge Alalatoa said.

“I do so to protect the Courts process from further abuse, I do so to prevent criminal processes from being used for purposes alien to the administration of Justice, and I do so to uphold the confidence of the public in the administration of Justice.” 

The charge against the matai stemmed from the bestowment ceremony, during which the title Malietoa was conferred upon Fa’amausili Moli on August 17, 2018 at the village of Malie. 

The ceremony went ahead despite an interim order from the Court Registrar to stop it.

But the defendants argued that the decision to confer the title Malietoa was based on a final decision by the Land and Titles Court to do so. 

An interim order therefore should not supersede a final decision of the Court, the Court heard. 

Judge Alalatoa made it clear that the granting of the interim order was based on speculation. 

“There was no threatened warfare, we all saw the video and what came on T.V. there was no war,” she said. 

“It was preconceived that the title conferment would not comply with customs and usages under section 20 of L.T.A. (Land & Titles Act).

“I remind myself that this is a Court of justice. I am of the view that this is a Court of justice that is bound to prevent an abuse of process.”

 Judge Alalatoa reiterated that the Court has the jurisdiction to dismiss any case that is of an abuse of process. 

Malietoa was represented by lawyer Matafeo George Latu while Tauiliili Harry Schuster stood for the 15 other matai. 

In June 2017, the three sides of the Malietoa family unanimously agreed for Fa’amausili to carry the Malietoa title.

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