Mata’utia Leota Raymond Schuster appointed District Court Judge

Mata’utia Leota Raymond Schuster is sworn in by the Chief Justice, Patu Tiavaasue Falefatu Sapolu

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 07 SEPTEMBER 2018: It took almost a year for former barrister and solicitor Mata’utia Leota Raymond Schuster to decide on his new calling as a judge of the Samoa District Court.

Today he was sworn in by Chief Justice Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu in front of a packed court room with family members, working colleagues and friends, some who travelled from overseas to witness the ceremony.

“When I was approached, I thought I was not good enough for the position so I sat on it. Finally I thought, maybe it is a sin if I do not accept, and maybe it is a calling from God for me to help my country through this new post.”

Judge Schuster said being a judge was never in his wildest imaginations in his career as a lawyer, but he is grateful for the opportunity.

“You have heard what the Chief Justice said, being a judge requires you to have no friends, but I believe that is to maintain the independence of the court, but it depends on the person and how he handles it,” he told Talamua.

The same perception was emphasised by the Chief Justice. “Your new post needs you to do justice, requires you to do what is right and not to be biased in your decisions and be loyal in doing your job.”

The Chief Justice added, “You have been working as a lawyer for so many years, no doubt you will bring your wealth of experience to your new appointment. Do your work without fear.”

The new Judge with his parents

Judge Schuster acknowledged the influence of his father, Saunoamaalii Sonny Schuster – a former Police Commissioner and his mother for making him on what he is.

His older brother, Lefau Harry Schuster was also a District Court Judge but resigned when he ran and became a Member of Parliament.

Matautia Leota Raymond Schuster is 51 years old from Vaoala, Malifa and Alafua and is married to Lina Elizabeth Tone Schuster, with 3 children.

He was has an Advance Diploma in Public Sector management from the University of New England Australia, and a Bachelor of Law from USP, Port Villa, Vanuatu.

He has been a barrister and solicitor for 20 years and was a partner at Schuster, Betham, Annandale Law. He had a sole practice in the Raymond Schuster Law Office, was an Assistant Attorney General at Attorney General’s Office, Principal State Solicitor AG’s office, Senior State Solicitor and State Solicitor AG’s Office and as a Legal Clerk at Fepulea’i Law Firm.

Schuster joins Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma, Talasa Lumepa Saaga, and Alalatoa Rosella Viane Papalii as Judge in the District Court.