Additional charge filed as President’s hearing referred to Supreme Court

DT
By Deidre Tautua – Fanene, 13 March 2018

The President of the Land and Titles Court, Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati, has had one more charge added to the list of charges he faces. 

An additional charge of causing grievous bodily harm (G.B.H.) has been added to the list of charges that include assault, being armed with a dangerous weapon and causing injury.

The matter was called before District Court Judge, Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i, yesterday.

The President of the Land and Titles Court is accused of hitting a security officer (who works at the judiciary compound) on the head twice with a glass bottle during a party last year.

Representing Fepula’i is former Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai. The prosecutor is Rexona Titi of the Attorney General’s Office.

Yesterday, Ms. Titi made an application to have the matter referred to the Supreme Court. 

She argued that the charge of grievous bodily harm falls under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

“I appear for the prosecution your honour and I respectfully advise that there are currently four charges filed,” she told the Court. 

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“And given that one of the charges is that of an attempt of grievous bodily harm, we respectfully seek if this matter could be transferred to the Supreme Court for mention on Monday 19, 2018, at 10am.”

Judge Alalatoa told the prosecution they could’ve saved a lot of time if the matter was transferred directly to the Supreme Court.

Ms. Titi, however, said that they already informed the Court officers when they first filed the charges.

 “Yes, your honour, when we filed the charges, we instructed the officers to liaise with the Registrar if they can put it straight to the mention, but they told us to bring it here,” said Ms. Titi.

Judge Alalatoa then made her decision.

 “Fepulea’i there is an additional charge that’s been brought before the Court this morning, and it falls under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court,” Judge Alalatoa said in addressing the Court.

“The District Court does not have the power to deal with this charge which is grievous bodily harm.

“So this is the reason your matter is being referred to the Supreme Court for continuation unless there is an order from up there to refer it back to the District Court.”

She then adjourned the matter to 26 March 2018, to be called in the Supreme Court criminal mention before Chief Justice, His Honour, Patu Tia’va’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu.”

Outside of Court, the media were waiting for Fepula’i to come out; however he exited through the back to avoid his pictures being taken by the media.

Last week, Fepulea'i took “special leave” pending criminal charges filed against him in Court.

DT
By Deidre Tautua – Fanene, 13 March 2018

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