Suspended lawyer could lose practicing license
A suspended lawyer could lose his practising license after the Supreme Court found him guilty of the crime of obtaining by deception this month.
Pa’u Tafaogalupe Mulitalo who escaped a conviction from the District Court earlier this year over an assault charge, was found guilty of the obtaining by deception charge by Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma.
Justice Fepuleai said the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that Pau was guilty.
The accused will be sentenced on 24 July.
The charge stemmed from a business dispute with a construction contractor, Alapati Brown, over tools he kept at Pau’s premises in Lalovaea.
The suspended lawyer had sought the service of the builder back in 2015 to build a house that was also intended to serve as a shopfront and law office at Lalovaea.
But before the construction works for the small house could be finished, Pa’u terminated Mr. Brown’s contract and told the workers at the site they were not free to remove their equipment.
During his evidence, Pa’u said he decided to end the contract when the contractor continued to ask for more money to complete the works, on which he had already spent $26,000.
He claimed the workers were sleeping during working hours causing him to spend more than he should on the project.
During the trial, Pau told the Court the contractor owed him money for the unfinished project totalling $26,000.
But when the workers went to remove the equipment from Pa’u’s home the suspended lawyer refused.
They alleged he did so by saying he had a Court Order allowing him to hold the equipment.
This was disputed by Pa’u who maintained he never used the words “Court Order” and had instead told a Police officer that he was preparing to apply for a Court Order.
He tendered an ex-parte motion in Court seeking an order to stop the removal of the equipment.
In a separate matter at the District Court earlier this year, Pa’u was found guilty of two charges of assaulting his ex-wife and daughter.
The court however discharged him without conviction.
Pa’u had his practising license suspended in 2018 by the Samoa Law Society following several criminal charges against him.