P.M. demands explanation from Justice C.E.O.
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has asked the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, Moliei Simi Vaai, to explain the Court's process when it comes to granting bail to criminal defendants.
In a letter written in Samoan dated 9 March 2020, the Prime Minister singled out a February decision granting bail to Malele Paulo, also known as King Faipopo, and Lemai Faioso Sione, as “comical”.
The pair, who were granted bail in February, have pleaded not guilty to a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister.
“The Police informed me that a Judge granted bail to Lema’i and King Faipopo without any money being paid?" a translation of Tuilaepa's letter reads.
“They could’ve at least paid $2 tala but there was not even a snot, the mind screams with amazement about such comical decision making. What is the policy in terms of bail?"
The Acting Chief Justice Vui Clarence Nelson; the President of the Lands and Titles Court, Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati and Supreme Court Justice, Tafaoimalo Leilani Warren Tuala, were copied in the letter.
Justice Tafaoimalo presided over the matter of King Faipopo, and Lemai Faioso Sione’s bail hearing in which she ruled for them to be released on bail.
In his letter, the Prime Minister noted that Police raised concerns on how defendants are released on bail and how easy it is for them to flee the country.
“There are thousands of ways a prisoner can flee. We are in a world where there are numerous problems.”
Tuilaepa also noted the importance of the security of those involved.
“Also the matter has been postponed to November; eight months from now. Why is this matter being postponed so far out to November?” asked the Prime Minister.
He also questioned whether the Court has many other cases.
“Does the J.S.C. (Judicial Service Commission) have a say in what’s happening? Please explain,” said the Prime Minister.
Tuilaepa then noted there are court cases that are pending and there are no written decisions with the Police. He concluded by asking the C.E.O. to give him a list of cases with pending rulings at the Court.
Below is the letter printed in full verbatim.
9 Mati 2020
Pule Sili- Matagaluega o Fa’amasinoga
BAIL AUNOA MASE SELENI E TOTOGI
Na logo mai a’u e leoleo na bail out e le’isi Fa’amasino Lema’i ma King Faipopo e aunoa ma se seleni e totogi’ina. Ana se’i tu’u foi iai se ta’i $2.00 a’o le matua leai lava o se pa’upa’u, e matua ofo ee le mafaufau i nei ituaiga fa’ai’uga komi-O le a ea le policy I mea nei o “bail”?.
Ole popolega o leoleo ole faigofie ona bail mai I tua ae su’e atu ua sola. E afe ma afe auala e sola ai le pagota. O lea tatou te I le lalolagi e anoano mau fa’aletonu o lo’o feagai ma tatou. Aemaise le fa’atauaina o le puipuiga ole security involved o tagata o a’afia?
Lea foi ua tolo ia Novema le fa’amasinoga -8 masina. Aisea ea ua tolo mamao ia Novema- ole mea ea ua tele galuega? O le vaai atu ile Fa’amasinoga a tagata o ole atunu’u aofia ai ma a’u pei o se mea ula le tulaga lea ua iai le Fa’amasinoga. E o’o ea se leo o le JSC I nei mea uiga sese e tutupu mai iina? Sei aumai sina fa’amatalaga.
E iai isi fa’amasinoga ua leva ona fai ae le’i aumaia lava ni fa’aiuga tusitusia- o lo’o complain mai foi leoleo e.g. le iuga ia Pao ile avea sea slugs I fafo against the law. Se’i aumai sau lisi o fa’aiuga o lo’o talia pea.
Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi
Kopi: Vui Clarence Nelson
Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati
Leilani Warren Tuala