Man jailed "unlawfully" for four years

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 03 July 2020, 10:00PM

The lawyer for a man, who was kept in prison for four years "unlawfully", says they will discuss his legal options "when he is ready."

Senior lawyer, Muriel Lui, told the Samoa Observer, that their priority was for her client, Sio Agafili, to be released. She offered the response when she was asked if her client was considering taking legal action against the Government.

“Our priority was to get him released given his unlawful imprisonment for over four years to date,” she said.  “But we will be discussing his legal options when he is ready.”

On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued Consent Orders to release Sio Agafili, also known as Galo Agafili, of Sala'ilua Savai'i and Vaivase tai, who had been unlawfully imprisoned for more than four years, violating his Constitutional right to personal liberty. 

Agafili was serving five years for burglary and theft in a matter that dates back to 2008. While he was serving time for those offences, Agafili was charged and convicted again of indecent assault on another male prisoner at Tafaigata Prison in 2015. 

His one year sentence for indecent assault was to be served concurrently with his earlier conviction. 

The defendant was supposed to have been released from jail in December 2015.

This did not happen. 

It wasn’t until he was called to appear in Court recently in a matter relating to an alleged assault at the Tanumalala Prison it was uncovered that Agafili should have been released four years ago. 

Supreme Court Justice, Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke, granted a Consent Orders this week to release Agafili on bail pending his sentence on the recent assault charge. 

Justice Leiataualesa said the detention of the defendant and imprisonment from December 2015 to date has been unlawful and breaches his right to personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. 

“And therefore by consent of the respondent, I hereby order the release of the defendant Sio Agafili also known as Galo Agafili pursuant to article 6(2) of the Constitution,” he said.  

Justice Leiataualesa released Agafili on bail on Thursday afternoon with conditions to sign in at the Police station twice a week and to surrender his travel documents. 

The matter has been adjourned until Monday 6 July 2020 to schedule sentence date for the defendant’s recent assault charges. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 03 July 2020, 10:00PM
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