Man who fled on fake passport pleas for mercy

A man charged with fleeing Samoa on a false passport has asked the Court for forgiveness.

Ropeti Mauai Seevae asked for the District Court’s leniency on Tuesday when he pleaded guilty to two charges. 

He is charged with one count of knowingly using the birth certificate of Ioane Masoe Felise to obtain a false passport in June 2017 and one count of knowingly using the same person’s identification to obtain the passport. 

Mr. Sione left Samoa in 2017. 

Court documents show that he was the subject of a Departure Prohibition Order because of overdue child support payments; he was sent back to Samoa by Australian authorities last month.

The offences he is charged with have a maximum penalty of 5 years' imprisonment. 

The defendant told the District Court Judge, Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma, he did not want legal counsel. 

After entering his plea, Se'evae told the Court he knew he had done wrong. 

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“I did not think that what I had done would result in this,” he said. 

“I apologise to the Court and I know I had done wrong and I did not intend that my offending would affect my relationship with my wife, my parents and my family.” 

Judge Fepulea'i reminded the defendant that he will be given another opportunity to address the Court when he is due for sentencing. 

Prosecution and Attorney General’s Office lawyer, Sililupevalelei Rexona Titi, did not oppose bail. 

She sought strict bail conditions for the defendant to sign in twice at the Police post. 

Se'evae said he will reside with his wife’s family at Samatau if he is released on bail. 

He will reappear in Court on 28 November for a pre-sentencing report. 

Court documents show that Mr. Sione was brought before a Savai'i Court in 2016 for overdue child support payments.

He was jailed the following year after overdue payments reached $900 tala.

He was released from jail on the condition he used his freedom to work and repay the child maintenance payments.

But Se'evae soon left for Australia without repaying the arrears.

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