Former Minister warns P.M. of contempt of court
Former Minister, Laaulialemalietoa Leuaatea Schmidt, has issued a stern warning to the Prime Minister to stop commenting on a criminal matter involving the former currently before the court.
Laauli noted that the concept of ‘sub judice’ is a common-law offence preventing the discussion of a matter that is before the courts and awaiting resolution and such matters are prohibited from public discussion.
The M.P. for Gagaifomauga no3, who recently exited the Human Rights Protection Party in a high-profile stoush, referenced the Prime Minister’s live interviews with media outlets where he has continued to comment on the specifics of his case, yet the matter is pending in court.
“I want to remind him again and warn him that this is contempt of court that he is talking about [issues about my case] when the matter is in the hands of the court,” the M.P. said.
The former Cabinet Minister and his co-defendants pleaded not guilty to 233 criminal charges at a trial held in mid-2019.
La’auli was charged with one count of forgery; 40 charges of theft; 16 for obtaining by deception; 16 counts of causing loss by deception and 88 charges of theft by a person in a special relationship.
“I will not respond to the Prime Minister as I don’t want to dwell on this contempt of court and I don’t want to say anything about this matter,” he said.
“This is ridiculous as a leader of the nation to meddle with a business case that is pending in court,” said Laauli.
An email containing questions for comments were sent to the Prime Minister Press Secretary Nanai Laveitiga Tuiletufuga.