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Trespass charge comes to court 6 months later

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An alleged incident that occurred on the morning of Dec. 22, 2019 landed the Executive Director of the American Samoa Humanities Council in court this week.

Niualama Epenesa Taifane appeared before District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea this past Monday through a summons. She is charged with one count of trespass, a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of $500, or both.

During her initial appearance, Patea informed Tiafane that based on her financial report it appeared that she can afford to retain a private attorney to represent her throughout her case proceedings. Therefore, she must seek a private counsel to represent her in her next court appearance on July 28th, at 8:30 a.m.

Taifane was ordered to remain law abiding, make all of her court appearances, stay in close contact with her attorney, and not leave or attempt to leave the territory without written order of the court. Furthermore, Taifane was ordered to stay away from the home of the complaining witness in this matter, Faalagiga Nina Tua’au-Glaude.

The government alleged that on about Dec. 27, 2019 around 11:55 a.m, the victim, Tua’au-Glaude walked into the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to file a complaint against Chief Niualama E. Taifane and another individual (whose name is mentioned in the court affidavit) concerning an incident that happened on Dec. 22, 2019.

According to the victim’s statement to police, Taifane and another person came into her residence and started yelling at her sister. Tua’au-Glaude came out of her home and an altercation occurred. Tua’au-Glaude told Chief Taifane that the police previously warned her not to come on the land anymore.