P.M. hits back at Justice Tafaoimalo

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 08 May 2020, 9:00AM

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has accused a Supreme Court Judge of leaking his letter to the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration C.E.O. Moliei Simi Vaai.

Speaking during his weekly program on National Radio 2AP on Thursday, Tuilaepa said the decision by Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren to make reference to his 9th March 2020 letter during a court hearing this week, showed she did not understand his role as the head of the Executive.

“I did not write to the Judge. I wrote to the C.E.O. of the Ministry as I can under my authority as the head of the Executive. It is also clear that this Judge does not understand my role as the head of the Executive and any public servant is under my directive,” he said during the radio program.

“Also, she should have never said anything about this [in Court] and so this means that she leaked out the letter and she should have been extremely careful.”

The process that inmates followed to apply for bail was a cause for concern and highlighted in the letter, according to the Prime Minister, as he said the procedure is that inmates post a cash bond as collateral before they are released on bail.

“This is to minimize inmates from re-offending while out on bail. Majority of the crimes are committed during the bail period, and it appears this Judge does not understand that and this clearly depicts the Judge is irresponsible.”

Tuilaepa said the matter has been brought to his attention by the Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil, on defendants reoffending while out on bail.

“There are people that have died at the hands of those who were released out on bail and that are what this Judge does not understand,” he added.

He claimed that Judges have the mentality that they are in “paradise” and cannot be told anything, and cautioned that they should be mindful of the aftermath of a court proceeding.

The Acting Chief Justice Vui Clarence Nelson; the President of the Lands and Titles Court, Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati and Justice Tafaoimalo were copied in the Prime Minister’s letter.

Justice Tafaoimalo, during a bail hearing for defendant Lema’i Faioso Sione on Tuesday, expressed concern that Tuilaepa’s letter could undermine confidence in Samoa’s justice system.

Lema’i and co-accused Paulo Malele or King Faipopo, have pleaded not guilty to a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister.

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 08 May 2020, 9:00AM

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