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Judge recused from anti-vaccination trial

District Court Judge, Loau Donald Kerslake, has recused himself from presiding over the trial of anti-vaccination activist Edwin Suliveta Tamasese. 

Tamasese is facing a charge of allegedly undermining the authority of the Government by incitement against a mass vaccination State of Emergency Order dated 16 November 2019. 

The charge stemmed from a social media post made by Tamasese on Facebook where he wrote, “I’ll be here to mop up your mess” and “enjoy your killing spree”. 

Represented by lawyer Fuimaono Sarona Ponifasio, the defendant entered a not guilty plea to the charge. 

Judge Loau has adjourned the matter and referred it to Judge Talasa Atoa Sa’aga for hearing on Tuesday. 

The trial was initially scheduled to be heard in April this year but was rescheduled to August. 

When the matter was called in August, the prosecution requested for more time before they can proceed. 

Tamasese is released on bail with conditions to sign at the Police outpost and surrendering his travel documents. 

Attorney General’s Office lawyer, Priscilla Betham is the prosecutor. 

There are about five witnesses who are expected to give evidence at the court hearing. 

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