UPDATE: Samoa CJ calls ‘meeting in chambers’ over election crisis
Apia, SAMOA — The Samoa Observer is reporting Ministry of Justice and Court Administration Chief Executive Officer, Moliei Simi Vaai says a special “meeting in chambers” has been called by the Chief Justice, His Honor Satiu Simativa Perese on Sunday.
Speaking exclusively to the Samoa Observer F.A.S.T. lawyer Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu on Saturday night, said the latest proclamation cancelling the sitting of Parliament on Monday issued by the Head of State was unlawful and would be the subject of a legal challenge.
The proclamation by the Head of State directly undermines an earlier writ signed by the Head of State signed this Thursday, which confirmed Parliament would convene on Monday to meet a constitutional obligation.
The media has been told to leave the courthouse compound, according to Samoa Observer.
The Samoa Observer Chief Reporter; photographer, Aufai Areta Areta, Radio New Zealand Correspondent Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia and Leilua Amesene Tanielu of Radio Polynesia were asked by the police to “leave” the parking lot.
“We have been given orders from our main office this area is now on lockdown and everyone including you [three] have to leave,” said one Police Officer.
PRESS REMAINS TO DO ITS DUTY
The reporters refused to accept the orders of the Police Officer and explained the role of the media in covering a national crisis.
According to the Observer, Autagavaia was heard asking the three Police Officers as to what authority they had to remove the media from the parking lot.
“This is an important event for the media to play their role, and we understand the matter is being held in chambers and so we will await the decision by the Chief Justice and an opportunity to questions the lawyers involved.”
The police officers then left saying they will be back to “remove” the media from the court parking lot insisting they have an “order” for the media to leave as they are not allowing anyone to enter the compound.
Not long after Ministry of Justice and Court Administration, Chief Executive Officer, Moliei Simi Vaai approached the reporters and explained the Police Officers were informed of the importance role of the media.
She said the media are allowed in the parking lot to await the decision by the Chief Justice as the media are not allowed inside Chambers.
This is a developing story and we will update as information becomes available.