Parliament to decide Court President’s fate next month

PHOTO: President of the Lands and Titles Court, Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati.

Staff Reporters

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 08 MAY 2019: Samoa’s Parliament will determine the future of the President of the Lands and Titles Court in next month’s session.

The Prime Minister told Talamua in his news programme last night that a two thirds majority of MPs is required to make a decision.

The President, Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati resigned last month when the Court of Appeal convicted him for assaulting and injuring a night watchman during a social function in December 2017.

In May 2018, District Court Judge Rosella Papalii Viane, discharged Fepulea’i without conviction and his decision was appealed by the Attorney Generals’ office

Fepuleai’s resignation was accepted by the outgoing Chief Justice Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu who retired last month. But the President changed his mind a week later, opening Parliament to step in.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa told Talamua that while such matters are normally dealt by the Judiciary itself, Parliament can step in if issues arise that the Judiciary cannot resolve.

It is not clear why Fepulea’i changed his mind whether he had been advised of the option where Parliament can decide his fate.

Tuilaepa said that the matter will be deliberated after Parliament passes the Budget next month. More than two thirds of the seats in Parliament are held by the ruling Human Rights Protection Party.