Court orders prison authorities to assist prisoners who want legal assistance

The gate to the Tafa’igata prison

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: WEDNESDAY 01 JUNE 2015: Chief Justice Patu Tiavaasue Falefatu Sapolu has ordered the Tafaigata prison authority to assist prisoners who wish to engage legal assistance to represent them in Court.

The order was issued after several prisoners complained to the Court that they were not given the chance to find lawyers.

Patu made the order Monday29th June 2015 after three defendants who have been in custody turned up in Court without lawyers.

When the Chief Justice asked why they had not engaged legal counsels after granting them previous chances, the defendants said the police did not give them a chance to find lawyers.

Patu then made an order to the authority to give the custodian defendants a telephone and a list of lawyers.

One custodian defendant was instructed to write to the Ministry of Justice for legal assistance if he could not afford to pay for a lawyer.