Death threat delays $5million lawsuit

Death threats directed at the family of a lawyer who is taking up a $5 million lawsuit, seeking to reclaim customary land before the Supreme Court, have caused the hearing to be suspended.

Lead counsel, Josefina Fuimaono-Sapolu, representing the Samoa Solidarity International Group (S.S.I.G.) and Feagaimaali'i Bruce Utaileuo, did not appear in Court on Tuesday for a strike out motion hearing. 

Instead, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, appeared on instructions from Ms. Fuimaono - Sapolu who is currently in New Zealand.   

“We are all in a difficult situation with these faceless threats,” Unasa told the Court. 

“The situation is she (Josefina) couldn’t get on yesterday’s flight – in her own words my safety and the safety of her children is not guaranteed at this time."

Unasa had explained to Acting Chief Justice, His Honour Vui Clarence Nelson, why they could not proceed with the hearing on Tuesday. 

Arthur Lesa, representing former Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai, noted he was ready for the strike out motion hearing for his client. 

Ms. Fuimano – Sapolu had left for New Zealand to take her autistic son for a medical checkup. 

Justice Vui then asked Unasa who was making the threats. 

“Are these credible threats or just nonsense on social media?” said the Acting Chief Justice. 

“You know social media has a lot of nonsense these days...

 In response, Unasa said the threat made is aiming to “kill all of us” referring to her family. 

 She added that the Police have been informed about the threats, and that they have submitted evidence.

Justice Vui then made the order to adjourn proceedings due to the application by the respondent.

The matter has been referred back to mention on 9 September 2019, for a new hearing date.

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