Ads by Google Ads by Google

Court Report

[SN file photo]
Translated by Samoa News staff


A man accused of assaulting his sister-in-law is back behind bars at the Territorial Correctional Facility, after the court granted the government’s motion which sought to withdraw the cash that was put up for bail by a relative of the defendant.

Solomona Teofilo, who is charged with felony second-degree assault, has been out on $5,000 bail since his arrest last October.

During a court hearing on Monday, the defendant’s niece testified that she wanted to withdraw the money she put up — $2,500 cash — to help with her uncle’s bail. The other half of the bail was paid by the defendant’s girlfriend.

Assistant Attorney General Gerald Murphy asked the witness why she wanted to withdraw her share of the bail money, but Chief Justice Michael Kruse quickly interjected, saying that such line of questioning may result in a reply that would be prejudicial to the defendant, whose rights are protected under the law.

In the end the court granted the government’s motion to return part of the bail money put up by the defendant’s niece, and Teofilo was immediately taken into custody, where he will remain unless someone else comes up with $2,500 cash to fulfill the bail amount.

According to court documents, Teofilo, 55, allegedly assaulted his sister-in-law by hitting her in the face, putting a knife to her throat, and threatening her with a hammer. The alleged assault occurred after the defendant asked his sister-in-law if he could borrow his older bother’s car, to which the victim told the defendant to call his older brother off island for permission.


The High Court has set August 18 as the sentencing date for John Luao Iosefo, who under a plea agreement with the government, has pled guilty to having sexual contact with a minor.

Iosefo, 23, was arrested in January 2015 and charged with two counts of statutory rape and two counts of sexual abuse first degree - all felonies. He was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child — a misdemeanor. The defendant was looking at 21 years in jail if convicted of all charges.

However, under a plea agreement, which was accepted by the court on Monday, the defendant pled guilty to one of the two sexual abuse counts and the rest of the charges were dismissed.

For the guilty plea, the defendant admitted that sometime on Dec. 20, 2014, he had sexual intercourse with a 14-year old girl.

According to court documents, the victim told police that she had sex for the first time with the defendant in December 2014. When questioned by police, the defendant (who was 21 years old at the time) said he was dating the 14-year-old girl and admitted that he had sex with her twice — in December 2014 and January 2015.

First degree sexual abuse is a class D felony, punishable by not more than five years imprisonment, or a fine of not more than $5,000 or both.

The hearing was presided over by Chief Justice Michael Kruse, assisted by Chief Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr., and Associate Judge Tunupopo Faleafaga.

The defendant is represented by Public Defender Douglas Fiaui and prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Gerald Murphy.


District Court Judge Fiti Sunia late last week sentenced Fasia Fetuao to 90 days imprisonment, after he was convicted of public peace disturbance and admitted that he violated conditions of his probation from a previous case.

According to court information, Fetuao has a criminal record going back to 2001, when he was charged and convicted of assaulting another person. Thereafter, the defendant continued to appear in court for various misdemeanor charges which all resulted from Fetuao’s alcohol abuse problem.

For the new case, he was taken into custody after an argument he had with his younger brother during an alcohol-drinking session. When asked by the court, the defendant said he was not drinking alcohol at the time of the argument with his younger brother, but the prosecutor quickly argued that there is specific information indicating that the defendant was intoxicated.

In handing down sentencing, Sunia said the defendant does not appear to have learned any lessons from his previous criminal behavior and the court gave him a chance through probation.

Sunia told the defendant that the next time he appears in court and is convicted, he will be sentenced to a longer jail term. Sunia said the court cannot stop the defendant from consuming alcohol because that is his choice. However, he added, the court has the authority to hand down an appropriate sentence for the defendant.