Judge Aitken voices concern over Prosecutions late filing of submissions

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: WEDNESDAY 16 DECEMBER 2015: Supreme Court Judge, Justice Elizabeth Aitken has voiced her concern over the Prosecution’s delayed filing of their final submission against Vaioleti Stowers and Holland to the Court.

Justice Aitken expressed her concern today when she received Prosecutions submission an hour before sentencing the defendants.

The defendants Vaioleti Stowers and Grant Newman Holland from New Zealand were scheduled to be sentenced today on 6 counts of theft however, it did not happen because both the Court and defense counsel for Stowers only received the Prosecutions submissions this morning.

“I have raised this so many times, if you go to the trouble of writing submissions, then make a point to submit them, but not an hour before sentencing,” said Justice Aitken.

Prosecution apologized for the delay, however, Justice Aitken noted that they have also failed to submit the defendants’ previous conviction records.

“My apologies Your Honor, I have brought a different file instead of the defendants previous conviction file,” said Prosecution.

Stowers pleaded guilty to 6 charges of theft on 12 November 2015 and Holland was found guilty of all charges on 24 November 2015, and both were scheduled to be sentenced today.

According to the Court, there was plenty of time for Prosecution to prepare and lodge their submission.

Both defendants will appear again at 1000 Friday 18 December 2015 for sentencing.

Holland however asked the Court for a weeks adjournment so he could contact his lawyer whom he said was back in Samoa.

“There is no record of any lawyer during the trial but you have to provide proper documents to prove this lawyer,” said Justice Aitken.

Holland said his lawyer is practicing under a different name rather than John Lee as he originally told the Court before the trial last month.

“That is an unusual practice and you need to provide proper and clear information,” said Justice Aitken.

The application was denied and Holland was told to bring his lawyer on Friday or he will have to represent himself again.

Both defendants were involved in renting 6 cars from 2 car rental companies early this year, then sold the cars off to various buyers, that include police officers.