Accused mass prison break plotters back at police cells


Outside court, Tagaloasa Filipaina Brown (with striped tie) talks to a relative as his nephew Ovaleni Poli hugs his son

By Rula Su’a- Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 09 APRIL 2018: Justice Vuli Clarence Nelson has reserved his ruling whether to transfer the two prisoners accused of plotting a mass prison break three months ago back to the Tafa’igata Prison.

The accused are drug dealer Tagaloasa Filipaina Brown and his nephew Ovaleni Poli and the alleged plot surfaced on the night Cyclone Gita hit Samoa and 90 police officers were dispatched to the Tafa’igata prison where the two were arrested. They have been held at the police station in Apia since.

The application was filed by lawyer Pa’u Tafaogalupe Mulitalo and he questioned whether the Apia Central Police Station is a “prison” and whether detention of the applicants has exceeded the temporary time frame for the applicants to be kept in custody at the Apia Police office.

Pa’u had cited Section 2 of the Prisons and Corrections Act 2015, defining “prison” means a prison, temporary prison or corrections facility established under section 16 or any other building or place deemed to be a prison or corrections facility under this Act or other Act.

“Without any specific time limit given by the respondent as to how long the applicants are to be kept in Apia would be unjust and reasonable,” Pa’u argued.

The prosecution disputed Pa’u’s application arguing that Apia Police Station is a prison which clearly stated under Prisons Act.

Justice Vui Clarence Nelson ruled that the accused will be transported back to the Apia Police Central Office, as he needs to have a look at affidavits and submissions from the lawyers as well as the Act argued by Pa’u Mulitalo before making a ruling.

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