Lawyer questions delay in filing charges against his clients


Prisoner Tagaloasa Filipaina Brown suspected of planning a prison breakout last month

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 23 MARCH 2018: The court will have to decide whether to grant an application by lawyer Pa’u Tafaogaolupe Pa’u Mulitalo to release his two clients, Tagaloasa Filipaina Brown and Ovaleni Poli who have been locked up at the Central Police Station in Apia for five weeks.

Pa’u is arguing transferred the prisoners back to Tafa’igata Prison as the Central Office is not a proper prison. The prisoners are accused of masterminding a prison breakout on the night Cyclone Gita hit the country and the police have yet to finalise any charges against his clients.

“They have been locked up for so long in a cell at the Central Office which is not a proper prison,” said Pa’u. “At least at Tafa’igata, they can get out and get a breath of fresh air.”

Lawyer Pa’u Tafaogaolupe Pa’u Mulitalo

However, the Attorney General argued that there is an order granted by the government in 1929 classifying the main Police Station in Apia as a prison, and that the investigation by police into the incident is not yet complete.

Police spokesperson Auapaau Filipo Logoitino told Talamua he cannot comment as the matter is now before the court.

Pa’u also argued that as of now, there are no solid evidence on why his clients were transferred from Tafa’igata prison to Apia, although section 34 of the Prisons Act says the Police Commissioner has the power to transfer any prisoners to the hospital because of illness and or transfer to the court.

“Pa’u says the kind of transfer his clients were treated do not apply under section 34 of the Prisons Act.” He argued that if his clients were to transfer to Vaia’ata Prison in Savaii, it would have been proper “because it is a proper prison.”

The Court is to decide on the matter 5 April 2018.


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