PHOTO: Fepulea’i Atila Ropati
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 25 APRIL 2019: The President of the Lands and Titles Court, Fepulea’i Atila Ropati, has resigned following his conviction of assault by the Court of Appeal last week.
Fepulea’i was also fined $5000 talā and $2000 talā of reparation costs to the complainant.
He pleaded guilty to assault of the Ministry of Justice’s night watchman, Saili Leota during an end of year function in December 2017 and the victim sustained injuries to the head with two strikes with an empty bottle.
Fepulea’i was discharged without conviction by District Court Judge Rosella Papalii Viane, 11 May 2018.
Justice Robert Fisher pointed out that the Court of Appeal’s main concern was the seriousness of the charge.
He added that the District Court judge discharged the respondent subject to certain conditions but without convictions, and it appeared to the Court of Appeal that unintentionally, she had under stated the seriousness of the offence and of the injury that resulted to the complainant.
“Therefore a conviction is unavoidable.”
The court of appeal referred to the incident as fundamentally important to the role of the Judiciary, where their role is to be seen as of high standard to the eyes of the public, and must be held accountable to members of the public.