American citizen pleads guilty to possessing marijuana


Lawyer Lefau Harry Schuster, John Robert Harden and United States charge ‘d affairs Tony Greubel outside Court

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 15 JANUARY 2018: An American citizen John Robert Harden has pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of marijuana in the Samoa Supreme Court.

Harden arrived in Samoa 8 January 2018 and was charged 9 January 2018.

Through his lawyer Lefau Harry Schuster, Harden pleaded guilty to the charges, but told the Court that he needed the drug for medical purposes.

He also presented a medical certificate to prove that he was allowed to carry and use the drug, but Prosecution pointed out that there was no law in Samoa that allows the use of marijuana as a medical remedy.

Prosecution appealed to the Court to hold the defendant in Samoa until the matter was over, but Chief Justice Patu Tiava’asu’e pointed out that such is very costly to the Government and people of Samoa.

Prosecution later withdrew one charge and Chief Justice then ordered prosecution to present a summary of facts on the matter.

Patu wanted to deal with the matter as soon as possible and also asked defence if they want a pre-sentence report to which Lefau said no.

The matter is adjourned to tomorrow for Prosecution to submit a summary of facts.

Accompanying Harden to Court was the United States charge’d affairs in Samoa, Tony Greubel.