Trigger-happy men denied bail

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 26 May 2020, 6:00AM

Two trigger-happy men accused of firing gunshots to frighten fellow villagers in Faleatiu have been denied bail by Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Daryl M. Clarke.

Fotu Baby Mo'a Sanele and his co-defendant Iolamo Sanele Mo'a appeared for a custody hearing before Leiataualesa on Monday.

They made their Court appearance, unrepresented by counsel, and via video teleconference.

Fotu Baby is one of 11 defendants facing drug charges in connection with the biggest marijuana bust in the history of the country, which netted $10 million tala worth of marijuana in November 2019. The November raid resulted in the seizure of some 10,000 marijuana plants, firearms and cash.  

The Sanele pair was apprehended and taken into custody by police in late April for the firearms charges.

Prosecution has yet to finalize all charges against the men.

The defendants made an application to be granted bail but prosecution opposed bail for both of them.

"Prosecution opposes the granting of bail for the time being. You will be remanded in custody to re-appear on the 8th of June, 2020 at 10am," said Justice Leiataualesa. 

The judge said bail has been denied because the men face charges in other unrelated matters.

"Prosecution advises that there are three matters involving you," said Justice Leiataualesa, adding that the firearms charges are "serious offending."

He advised the defendants to make an application for counsel with the Court if they cannot afford counsel. If they still seek bail, they should make the request through their attorney.

Fotu Baby told the Court he is sick with a heart condition and needs medical attention and also expressed his concern for his young children and his parents. 

"I need to find a lawyer to handle this matter," said Fotu Baby.

Justice Leiataualesa told him they must remain in custody because prosecution opposes their bail application.

Medical service, he noted, will be provided to him if he notifies the authorities. 

The defendant, Fotu Baby said the both of them already have an attorney, Leota Tima Leavai.

Justice Leiataualesa told the men to make contact with Leota "to bring the matter before Court urgently."

"The prison service is to make available to you a telephone for contacting counsel," he added.

The Saneles make their next appearance at 10am on 8 June, 2020.

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 26 May 2020, 6:00AM

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