Court to hear application to quash charges against suspended Police Commissioner

 

The suspended Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2016: The counsel for the suspended Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil today asked the Court to quash the charges against his client and Justice Lesatele Rapi Va’ai has set aside Wednesday next week to hear the application.

Defence counsel Komisi Koria cited 2 reasons why he believed the charges should be quashed:

  1. Insufficient evidence to support the charges and
  2. Prosecution’s failure to make the information or particulars of the charges available to the defence counsel.

Koria argued that of the 14 witnesses, who are all police officers testifying against Fuiavailili, only 1 witness speaks directly on the charges against his client.

He also argued that the investigation against his client was conducted by police officers on the advice from the National Prosecution office.

According to Koria, the prosecutor Muriel Lui has no authority to conduct such investigation as there was no direct order from her director to act as a public prosecutor.

“There is no way the National Prosecution Office can investigate and prosecute and maintains its’ independence,” Koria argued.

“It is for the public interest that this matter be handled by an independent prosecutor,” he said.

Koria also made reference to a statement made by the Attorney General last week and continued to argue that an independent prosecutor should handle the matter.

He also raised other issues which he wanted explanation from the prosecutor, and one of that was the fact that his client is charged as a “secondary offender”.

“These charges are more difficult to understand as my client is charged as a secondary offender, yet the case against the primary offender has not been lodged,” he told Court.

He argued that there is neither evidential nor factual evidence to support prosecutions argument, and “we have not been given the particulars of the charges.”

He said it was his clients’ constitutional right to have this information available to him and counsel.

Prosecutor Muriel Lui argued that what defence counsel was saying in Court this morning are things that should be left to the trial.

Koria responded that he was arguing from the only information available to him and his client.

Muriel Lui asked the Court for an order to stop Fuiavailili from contacting any police officer who is a witness in the case against him.

Justice Va’ai reminded prosecution that Fuiavailili was suspended.

The prosecutor argued that despite the suspension, he (Fuiavailili) still has a powerful influence on police officers.

The prosecution’s application for an order was denied, and the defence application to quash the charges will be heard next Wednesday.