Man extradited to N.Z. for sexual charges

A man facing over 30 sexual violation charges in New Zealand left the country on one of the repatriation flights to Auckland earlier this month. 

Tulisi Leiataua of Vaitele and Manono was extradited and was amongst a hundred-plus passengers on the Air New Zealand flight returning citizens from the country.

An extradition application from the Government of New Zealand was filed in the District Court in March for Mr. Leiataua. 

The accused is facing 32 charges in New Zealand; nine sexual violation by rape, three counts of indecent acts on a young person, one count of indecent assault, one count of assault on a child, 12 sexual violation and six indecent acts on a child. 

Mr. Leiataua is alleged to have committed an extradition offence defined under the Act which has the maximum penalty of death or imprisonment. 

The extradition application on behalf of the New Zealand Government was accompanied by a warrant of arrest for Mr. Leiataua.

He had since been in Police custody pending a flight to return to New Zealand to answer to the charges. 

In her decision before the District Court in March, Judge Talasa Atoa-Sa’aga was satisfied with the evidence that the offences the defendant has been charged of are extradition offences. 

“Further, there is compelling evidence before the Court to warrant a trial before the Supreme Court of Samoa if the offences were committed within the jurisdiction of the Courts of Samoa,” she ruled.

“I hereby order the committal of the respondent to custody to await the extradition of the respondent to New Zealand,” she said. 

“The defendant shall not be extradited until after the expiration of 15 days commencing from the date of the order for his committal.” 

The 15 days expiry was due on 16 March.

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