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$10,000+ beer theft case goes to trial

The man accused of stealing more than $10,000 worth of Vailima beer from a beverage distributor in Savai’i several years ago has pleaded not guilty to the charge and the matter now goes to trial.

The defendant Alatise Leafa Vitale appeared via video link before Supreme Court Justice Leiataualesa Daryl M. Clarke on Monday morning with his co-defendant Fagatua Niupou.

Vitale, Niupou and a third man, their co-defendant Tuatua Logi, are accused of stealing Vailima Pure – $10,540 worth or 136 cases on different occasions, in 2017 and 2018, when they worked for a beverage distributor in Savai’i.

They have been charged with theft as a servant.

Vitale and Niupou have entered pleas of not guilty.

Defense attorney Tuala Ponifasio is representing Vitale.

Counsel for Niupou is Diana Roma.

In previous court proceedings, Justice Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma, who is presiding over the case, noted that prosecution is ready to proceed.

Prosecutor is Lucymaria Sio Ofoia from the Attorney General’s Office.

 “The record will note that prosecution is ready to proceed. Both defendants are also ready to proceed,” Justice Fepulea’i said several weeks ago.

For Logi, who has another case, Justice Fepulea’i prefers his sentence be determined before he gives any evidence in the trial.

Justice Leiataualesa has scheduled the hearing for Monday, 8 February, 2020.

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