By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 12 DECEMBER 2016: The National Prosecution Office (NPO) Director Mauga Precious Chang has been acquitted of all three charges against her in Court today, however, she is still under suspension “pending the outcome of the Cabinet appointed Tribunal.”
Mauga was charged with negligent driving causing injuries, failing to stop and ascertain, and the alternative charge of dangerous driving.
“I must say I have carefully listened and carefully considered the evidence of this matter,” said Judge Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma.
“For the charge of negligent driving causing injury, the prosecution has not proven beyond reasonable doubt and is accordingly dismissed.
“On the alternative charge of dangerous driving, prosecution has not proven beyond reasonable doubt and is also dismissed.
“On the charge of failing to stop and ascertain, prosecution has not proven beyond reasonable doubt, and is also accordingly dismissed.”
Presiding Judge, Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma, said his full written decision will be available to counsels on Wednesday.
The charges stemmed from an accident that happened around 2.45pm of 4 May 2016 in front of the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi (TATTE) building.
Three vehicles were in involved in the accident, a bus transporting school children, a Tuscon car driven by the defendant and a taxi stationed at the TATTE exit gate.
Apart from damages to the vehicles, a passenger in the Tsucon car was taken to the hospital, and three months and 12 days later, the defendant was arrested and charged on the instruction of the Police Commissioner.
After the arrest, Mauga was suspended.
Mauga did not want to comment to the media on the outcome of the case today but prosecutor Satui Simativa Perese said the Court has given its ruling, but what is not known, is the reason behind such ruling.
“So we’ll have to await the written decision then decide if to end it here or take further steps,” said Perese.
Attorney General Lemalu Herman Retzlaff in an emailed statement to Talamua Media, said he had been briefed by Satui on the outcome of the case.
“An appeal against the decision of Judge Roma is at this stage, not out of the question, particularly where one of the defences advanced does not exist in law, in the prosecutor’s view,” said AG Lemalu.
Lemalu said everything will be “confirmed in due time once the full written decision and legal reasoning is received.”
“In the meantime I can confirm that the Director is still suspended, pending the outcome of the Cabinet appointed Tribunal, that will look into the two NPO staff that are currently under suspension,” said the Attorney General.