Pig head thrower faces extradition hearing

The man who threw a pig’s head at Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, and is now accused over a plot to kill the P.M., is facing an extradition hearing in Australia.

A spokesperson for the Attorney-General's office told the Brisbane Times that the defendant, Talalelei Pauga, 43, is wanted "to face prosecution in Samoa for the offence of conspiracy to murder".

Lawyer, Marc McKechnie, appearing on behalf of the Samoan Government, told a Brisbane Court on Tuesday that Samoa had made a lawful request to extradite Pauga and Australia has to honour its obligations under international law.

McKechnie said the charges against Pauga were serious.

But Pauga’s lawyers Greg Finlayson and George Mancini, disagree. 

They are trying to convince a Brisbane magistrate to release Pauga, arguing his detention was unlawful as Pauga had not been brought before a magistrate upon his arrest, according to the Brisbane Times.

The extensive hearing on Monday focused on administrative matters including Pauga's right to privacy, with an unsuccessful attempt made by his lawyers to close the court to the public and journalists.

Pauga was taken into custody by Australian police on 20 August when Samoa made an extradition request to the federal Attorney-General's department.

In November 2018, Pauga was charged by Queensland Police after he threw a pig's head  Malielegaoi at a Logan church, south of Brisbane.

Those charges were later dropped, but Pauga was arrested on 20 August after Samoa made the extradition request over an alleged conspiracy to murder.

He has been remanded at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre for almost five weeks.

His lawyers are calling for his immediate release on human rights grounds as he was not brought before a magistrate when first arrested.

The extradition hearing, before Brisbane Magistrate Belinda Merrin, continues.


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