Samoa Deputy PM To Appeal Obstruction Conviction

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Fonotoe found guilty of preventing police from doing their duties

By Jasmine Netzler

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Nov. 2, 2014) – Deputy Prime Minister, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo, will appeal his conviction this Thursday in the Supreme Court.

The Deputy Registrar, Veatauia Faatasi Puleiata, confirmed this to the Sunday Samoan late this week.

In May this year, Fonotoe was found guilty of obstructing police from carrying out their duties.

The matter was expected to be mentioned in call overs before Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu last Thursday morning.

But it was adjourned until this week.

While Veatauia could not say why the matter was deferred, he did confirm that the matter will be used to finalise a hearing date for the appeal.

Following his conviction, the Deputy Prime Minister was asked to pay $200 to the police.

Fonotoe was represented by lawyer, Donald Kerslake, in the initial hearing before Judge Vaepule Alo Vaemoa Va’ai.

At the time, Vaepule said the Police officers were merely doing their jobs.

"They were left stunned and professionally deflated after the two parliamentarians left," he said then.

"Neither of the officers affected has since received an apology (formal or otherwise) from Mr. Meredith to convey his remorse."

In August this year when the matter was heard before his Honour Patu, Mr. Kerslake filed the appeal.

The Court then set a hearing date for the appeal on the week starting 29 September 2014.

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