Convicted murderer faces theft charges, without lawyer

The man convicted for the murder of former Cabinet Minister, the late Luagalau Levaula Kamu, is back in the Supreme Court.

This time, Alatise Leafa Vitale, is facing charges of theft as a servant in connection to the alleged theft of beer worth $15,000 in Savai’i.

When the matter was called on Monday, senior lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, withdrew as Vitale’s lawyer.

Unasa had recently represented Vitale during the hearing of the violation of his parole conditions. But this time he has found himself without a lawyer.

Vitale faces charges of theft, alongside his co defendant, Fagatua Niupo. The charges date back to 2017 when they were working for a beer distributing company in Savaii.

They are accused of stealing more than 200 cases of beer.

They have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General, Magele Leone Su’a, told the Court that Unasa had formally written to withdraw as counsel to the defendant.

Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke queried Vitale if he wishes to engage in another lawyer.

He said yes. He has been instructed to seek legal aid and to appear again next year for their trial.

The matter has now been adjourned to 6 July 2020 for the hearing.

In a separate case, Vitale is a witness for police in a matter where two men are accused of conspiring to murder the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.

Unasa is representing Malele Paulo, better known as King Faipopo and Lemai Faioso Sione in that matter.

The men have entered a not guilty plea to two counts of conspiracy to murder Tuilaepa. The Court during preliminary issues of that case ordered that Unasa should not represent Vitale, who is a police witness.

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