A.G. asks to recuse all local Judges

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 27 May 2021, 12:00AM

The Office of the Attorney General has asked the Court to recuse all the judges from sitting on two of its cases pending before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. 

Attorney General’s Office lawyer, Fuimaono Sefo Ainuu filed the applications before the Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese on Thursday morning. 

The A.G. alleges favoritism from the bench after the office and the Human Rights Protection Party lost four legal challenge mounted by the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi party. 

The Court of Appeal was scheduled to hear an appeal on Monday, to a ruling that declared the additional seat for Aliimalemanu Alofa Tuuau void. 

However with the latest request from the A.G.’s office the Court has been asked to deal with an application to recuse the members of the local bench from sitting on the case. 

Also before the Supreme Court is a fresh challenge by the A.G. asking for interim orders to stop the legal effect of the transition of the new Government that were sworn-in on Monday outside Parliament. 

The A.G. claims the swearing in was unconstitutional and unlawful because the Head of State,  who has the constitutional authority to carry out the ceremony, was not present. 

Only the elected M.Ps of the F.A.S.T. party were involved in the ad-hoc ceremony that took place outside Parliament when the doors to the House were locked. 

It is also the A.Gs defense that the Speaker of Parliament has the jurisdiction to postpone Parliament as per notice disseminated on Sunday. However this is despite the Constitution requiring Parliament to convene within 45 days (that expired on Monday this week).  

According to Fuimaono from the A.G.’s office their recusal application relies on Article 9 of the Constitution for a fair trial. 

He also asked the Court to determine that application first before a substantive hearing can move ahead. 

But Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese questioned Fuimaono on under what authority can the A.G. dictate how the Court carries out its business. 

“If the Court has handed down an allocated hearing date for you normally parties don’t ask for dates or particular judges,” he said. 

“We will deal with recusal application [where] you want to recuse all judges that could possibly hear that case.” 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 27 May 2021, 12:00AM
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