President's resignation “huge loss” to the Judiciary
The President of the Land and Titles Court, Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati, has resigned from office.
Chief Justice His Honour Patu Tiava'asu'e Falefatu Sapolu, who is also the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (J.S.C.), told the Samoa Observer that Fepulea’i resigned last week – after the Court of Appeal convicted and fined him $7000.
The Chief Justice described his resignation as a “huge loss” to the Judiciary.
During an interview with the Chief Justice at his residence, he said Fepuleai’s resignation was submitted to the J.S.C. last week – after the Court of Appeal overturned the District Court's decision last year to discharge him without conviction – and convicted and fined him $7000.
“We met the day after the decision of the Court of Appeal came out and he was happy to accept the decision and he offered his resignation.
“Fepulea’i works seven days a week, he works at home after work and he also works during the public holidays. And I know he’s one of the judges that has devoted all his time and energy to his judicial work, neglecting his duties within his family.
“Unfortunately this incident occurred quite unexpectedly and he has resigned as a result,” said the Chief Justice.
Attempts by the Samoa Observer to get comments from Fepulea’i including visiting his residence were unsuccessful as of press time.
The Chief Justice told this newspaper that the J.S.C. is looking for a new judge to take on the role.
“We are currently looking for a replacement of the President for the L.T.C.,” he said.