No evidence to prove the accused is a drug dealer

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 24 AUGUST 2018: There was no evidence to prove that Tupa’i Fialelei is a drug dealer and Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke wanted Prosecution to specify from the previous cases evidence to prove their argument.

Tupa’i is charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine and in possession of three utensils used to smoke the drug.

During Prosecutions submission, they asked the Court to start sentencing from two years upwards for methamphetamine and from 6 months for possession of utensils. The ground was that Tupa’i was a drug dealer.

However, on questioning by Justice Leiataualesā, Prosecution could not identify any evidence to prove their claim.

The previous methamphetamine cases already dealt with by the Court suggested commercialisation of the drug which warranted a higher sentence for the accused. However, with Tupa’i, nothing in the submission of police summary of facts suggested that Tupa’i was selling the drug for money.

“The only evidence provided is that the accused is a consumer,” said the Judge.

The Case
Early this year, police searched Tupa’i’s house at Fa’atoia and found three utensils and 1.2 grams of methamphetamine found on Tupa’i’s body.

The defence counsel countered the allegations and pointed out the cases already submitted by Prosecution, where the sentence was higher because commercialization was involved.

Tupa’i however used the drug for his personal use, said the defence counsel.

Leiataualesā agreed with defence and also amended the summary of facts to replace the 1.2 grams of methamphetamine found on Tupa’i to only 0.4 grams.

This is also the first time accused has appeared on a drug related offence, but he has previous convictions. The matter is adjourned to next Friday for Prosecution to provide certain facts to their claim and for sentencing.