Village Mayor pleads not guilty

A village mayor has pleaded not guilty to a charge of motor vehicle manslaughter in relation to a car crash at Leulumoega in November that resulted in a young man’s death. 

Talosagatuufaatasi Fa’atagi, of Leulumoega, entered his plea through his lawyer, Arthur Lesa, in the Supreme Court this week. 

The lawyer has also filed an application to vary the bail conditions for Talosagatuufaatasi to allow him to reside in Leulumoega again. 

Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke had previously ordered that the accused not to reside in Leulumoega as there might be prosecution witnesses in the same village. 

Co-defendant, Mikaele Maiava, is yet to enter his plea as the Court seeks confirmation of a lawyer to represent him under legal aid. 

Lawyer, Diana Roma, told the Court that Mr. Maiava had approached him and that she was representing him under the legal aid programme. 

However, she said she has not received any information from the Court Registrar of her being appointed as counsel. 

Justice Leiataualesa adjourned the matter for prosecution to review the bail conditions requested by the Village Mayor. 

The adjournment is to also allow Mr. Maiava to confirm his legal counsel. 

The matter was initially called in the District Court before it was transferred to the Supreme Court due to jurisdiction over the serious charges. 

The accused are remanded on bail on conditions requiring them to surrender all travel documents and sign with the nearest Police station every Friday. 

Taloasgatuufaatasi was behind the wheel of a white Hilux truck while Mr. Maiava was in a separate vehicle when the two vehicles crashed at Leulumoega in November. 

A 23-year-old man from the village of Vaiusu, Aniseko Sagato, who died as a result of the crash was a passenger in one of the vehicles driven by the accused.  

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