Judge to write to A.G. over inquest delays

A District Court Judge will be penning a letter to the new Attorney General to express concern over her office’s handling of close to 10 inquests resulting in delays to the proceedings.

District Court Judge, Alalatoa Rosella Viane Papalii, expressed her dissatisfaction with the Attorney General's Office on Thursday after nine inquest cases scheduled for the day had to be adjourned again. 

Attorney General’s Office lawyer, Sarona Time, told the court that prosecution was unable to proceed because they did not have the inquest files and did not receive the inquest list until later. 

But Judge Alalatoa did not accept the explanation from the Attorney General’s Office, saying she will write to the new Attorney General, Savalenoa Mareva Betham to raise the issues.

She reminded the lawyer that they have a duty to the court to honour their word when adjournments are made to proceed on the next given date.

Furthermore, the District Court Judge said the office had their own diary to note down dates for each case and are responsible for the delays to hear the matters. 

“This is simply unacceptable Ms Time,” Judge Alalatoa said.

“I know you are short staff but still this cannot continue. 

“There are so many cases and I’m solely in charge [of the inquests] and as of now I’m really struggling because of your office not prioritising this.” 

In addition, Judge Alalatoa expressed her disappointment with prosecution, stating that she had been assured by the office that they will proceed when the matters were called on Thursday. 

“I don’t know what else to do with your office,” she added. 

“I will be noting this down in a letter to the new madam Attorney General…” 

The nine inquest scheduled for Thursday were adjourned for new dates to hear the matters. One of the inquests is on Kaisara Tagatauli of Faatoia who died in 2017. The man allegedly died after a dispute with his sister’s husband in Faatoia. 

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