“There’s a case to answer” Court rules against DPM & Associate Minister

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: TUESDAY 4 MARCH 2014: There is more than enough evidence for Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo and Associate Minister Muagututagata Peter Ah Him to answer to the charges against them.

Judge Vaepule Vaemoa Va’ai made the ruling before Patrick Fepuleai, lawyer for Muagututagata could put forward the application for a no case to answer.

Judge Va’ai made the ruling after the prosecution presented all their witnesses this morning.

During the witnesses testimonies, lawyer for Fonotoe, Donald Kerslake questioned the relevance of Constable Penehuro Paniani’s testimony to the case.

Paniani gave witness as to Fonotoe and Muagututagata’s presence at the Leons nigh club on the night of the 4th October 2013.

The same night the incident occurred which led to the charges against the pair.

Judge Va’ai warned Kerslake that he was obstructing the course of the trial.

“The witnesses have been giving evidence since yesterday,” said Judge Vaai.

Fonotoe is charged with one count of obstructing police work while Muagututagata is facing two charges, one of obstruction and an unlawful U-turn on a restricted area.

Yesterday afternoon, the defendants were late to Court and a warrant of arrest was issued.

The Court also gave defendant Fonotoe a chance to represent himself since he was passing on notes to his lawyer during the trial. Fonotoe declined and the trial continues.