Police officers accompanied 2 accused of theft in the execution of the crimes

Some of Samoana Rentals current fleet

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: SATURDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2015: Two female police officers escorted New Zealander Grant Holland and prisoner Vaioleti Stowers not only in delivering a stolen car but to pick up money as payment for another stolen car.  This is according to several witnesses who took the stand yesterday to testify against Grant Holland who stands accused of selling stolen cars.

Former inmate Chris Stehlin, witness number 8 for prosecution was serving time at Tafa’igata prison when one of the stolen cars, a silver  Nisan Lavista was brought to the house of the Deputy Commissioner, Tunaimatia Faiese Lautala’s inside the prison compound.

“I saw the car driven up to Tunai’s house by Vaioleti and beside her was a female police officer,” said Stehlin.

Stehlin was able to witness the deliverance of the car to Tunaimatia’s place because he was attached to the Deputy Commissioner’s house at the time. Asked what happened after the car was delivered, Stehlin said, Vaioleti left with the police officer.

The silver Nissan Lavista car was identified by Samoana  Rental owner Leiataua James Arp in his testimony yesterday,  as his sister Louise’s car which was also stolen by Holland and Stowers.

The Lavista was returned to Leiataua after he spoke with Tunaimatia.

Another witness Taulala Aivavao of Lepea who is serving time in prison also testified that  it was a police officer  that accompanied Holland and Vaioleti to Tunaimatia’s other house at Vaitele.

Aivavao said he saw Grant, Vaioleti and Peresia inside a small blue car. Peresia Mapusua is a senior police officer at Tafaigata prison.

Aivavao said he saw Tunaimatia came out of the house and gave a plastic bag with bundles of money inside to Grant.

Asked if he saw any black Lenovo at that time, the witness said no.  “I saw it in the evening,” said Aivavao.

Aivavao told the Court that it was him that changed the license plate on the car when it was delivered to Vaitele.

The black Lenovo was also identified by Leiataua as one of his 3 cars stolen by Holland and Stowers.

Holland was given a chance to cross examine the witness, but he again insisted to read his unsworn statement.

Presiding Judge, Justice Elizabeth Aitken declined Holland’s statement and  again explained Court procedures.

Because Holland was giving evidence, Justice Aitken said the only reason she would allow the use of the statement is “for you to refresh your memory or if there is no objection from prosecution.”

Holland was not to be put off easily and he punched the table and insisted that his statement must be read out.

“Mr. Holland, you will comply with the Court rules and  only I will give permission to read it,” said Justice Aitken.

When the matter broke for lunch, Justice Aitken ordered Holland to give a copy of the statement to prosecution to read, and should they object to him reading the statement, then that is the end of the statement.

Holland and Stowers are charged with 6 criminal charges of theft to which Stowers had pleaded guilty to.

Holland and Stowers rented out 6 cars from the Samoana and National Car Rental companies and face charges for selling them off to various buyers between January 21 and 03 February 2015.