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Court Report

Translated by Samoa News staff


After spending a week at the Territorial Correctional Facility, inmate Bingham Suiaunoa was released Tuesday per order of the court to await sentencing on Nov. 15t after he pled guilty early this week to a misdemeanor count of public peace disturbance.

Suiaunoa was initially charged with two counts of misdemeanor third degree assault and public peace disturbance, but under a plea agreement with the government that was accepted by the court, the assault charge was dismissed.

The government’s case against Suiaunoa stems from an incident more than a week ago at the Night Hawk at Iliili, where he got into a fight with another male patron of the nightclub, which was crowded with people out for the evening, according to court information.

During a status hearing on Tuesday this week, District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia asked the defendant to explain what happened; and Suiaunoa apologized to the court saying he doesn’t know what happened, because he was too intoxicated.

The government explained during the hearing the defendant and another man got into a fight in the nightclub’s parking lot and it was witnessed by many people who were there. Additionally, the other man punched the defendant, who was then knocked out and fell to the ground.

Suiaunoa has been in police custody for one week, and Sunia released him Tuesday without setting bail based on a request from attorneys of the government and defense. The two sides also recommended that the one week pre-trial confinement is sufficient jail term for the defendant, when he is sentenced Nov. 15.

While released from jail, awaiting sentencing, the court ordered the defendant to remain a law-abiding citizen, is banned from consuming alcohol and is not to commit any other crime.

The other man who got into the fight with Suiaunoa is scheduled to appear in court next week on two misdemeanor charges — but his identify could not be confirmed at press time.


The High Court granted on Tuesday a request by both the government and defense to continue a status hearing on the case of a man facing several criminal charges, as both sides are still waiting for a police report.

Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop-Ta’ase informed the court that it’s been almost two months now since Tao Liu was arrested and charged with felony crimes, but they are still waiting for a police report on their investigation.

The court continued the hearing to Dec. 6 and directed the government to have the police report by the time of the next hearing so this case could move forward.

Liu, who is being held behind bars on a no bail status on 11 criminal charges, which included drugs and an unlicensed firearm, escaped from jail in the early morning of Oct. 2, and was recaptured the next day.

However, the government has not yet filed charges against Liu for escaping from confinement.


A man who was very drunk and punched a security guard last month at the Night Hawk nightclub in Ili’ili was sentenced Tuesday by the District Court to 18 months probation.

Joe Leulua’iali’i was initially charged with two misdemeanor counts of third degree assault and public peace disturbance, in which he pled guilty under a plea agreement with the government and accepted by the court, the other count was dismissed.

And when District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia asked the defendant to explain what happened as to the reason for his guilty plea, the defendant said he could not recall the events, telling the court he was too drunk and didn’t know what happened.

According to the government, the defendant caused trouble by bothering patrons of the nightclub, including causing trouble with two female patrons.

The government said, as the security guard tried to escort the defendant out of the night club, the defendant punched the security guard, who then turned around and punched the defendant, who fell down, and when police arrived they tried to get the defendant to stand up so he could be taken into custody for questioning.

In handing down the probation sentence, the court also ordered the defendant to pay a $100 fine. During the probation period, the defendant is prohibited from consuming alcohol, be a law abiding citizen as well as attend and complete alcoholic counseling.