Seasonal worker wanted for murder, stabs colleague in Australia

The return of a seasonal worker to face an attempted murder charge in Samoa could be delayed after he allegedly stabbed a working colleague in Australia.

Junior Vaituutuu Timu, of Vaitele and Aleisa, left for Australia under the seasonal workers scheme in October last year on a three-year contract. 

However, a letter obtained by the Samoa Observer revealed that before Timu could be extradited back to the country to answer to his outstanding charge, he allegedly stabbed another seasonal worker in Australia.

The letter dated 17 June 2020 was penned by the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.) Chief Executive Officer, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, and was addressed to the Acting Attorney General.

In the letter, Pulotu noted that Mr. Timu was scheduled to return to Samoa to answer to his pending criminal charges before the Supreme Court. He then explained that the offending in Australia will likely delay his extradition to Samoa. 

“Recently, we have been advised that Timu has been charged with another criminal offence in Australia where it is alleged he stabbed another Samoan worker during a scuffle and has the next court mention date [in Australia] set for 01 July 2020,” Pulotu writes. 

“Previously, we were intending to have Timu return immediately upon the reopening of borders and the resumption of normal operations to international air travel. 

“However, given the new development this would delay Timu’s return to Samoa until the criminal process in Australia is completed.” 

Emails sent by the Samoa Observer to the M.C.I.L. C.E.O. seeking a comment were not responded to at the time of going to press. 

Timu’s outstanding attempted murder charge in the Supreme Court surfaced in March this year when his matter was called for mention but he did not appear. 

At the time the prosecution had informed the Court that the accused had left for Australia as part of the seasonal workers' scheme. 

Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke then instructed the prosecution to find out how the 32-year-old left the country if there was a Departure Prohibition Order [D.P.O.] against his travel in place. 

But the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet confirmed that there was no D.P.O. issued for Timu to prevent him from leaving the country, which enabled him to slip past the authorities.

The Government later filed for extradition to return Timu to Samoa to answer to his pending Court case. 

However, with the new development that Timu has reoffended in Australia, it is likely he will not return anytime soon until his matter is dealt with. 

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