Validity of an interim order issued against bestowal of Malietoa title challenged in court

PHOTO: Some of the Malie village matais facing contempt charges outside court with lawyer Lefau Harry Schuster

By Rula Su’a –Vaai

APIA, SAMOA –FRIDAY 08 MARCH 2019: The recipient of the Malietoa paramount title and 17 chiefs and orators of Malie village who bestowed the Malietoa title in August 2018 are challenging the validity of the interim order issued by the Court Registrar to stop the bestowal ceremony.

Matafeo George Latu, counsel for Faamausili Malietoa told the Court that the interim order issued by the Registrar was invalid and the matter should be referred back to the Lands and Titles Court.

He added that his client was looking at filing a new application to the Supreme Court in relation to the order made by the Registrar. Matafeo then sought for an adjournment.

Judge Alalatoa Rosella Papalii challenged the Prosecutor on the legality of the matter, questioning the Prosecutor whether there was an interim order executed by the President or Vice President of the Lands and Titles court on the matter.

“If there is no stay of execution, that interim order which your charge of contempt court is based should never be issued in the first place,” Judge Alalalatoa added.

She also pointed out to the Prosecutor, that if there was no stay of execution order, then the proceeding of contempt of court was an “abuse of this court.”

“I know I have the jurisdiction to stop proceedings where there has been ‘an abuse process’,” she said.

“For the defence, if you are challenging the invalidity of the interim order, I suppose you should apply to quash information as opposed to an adjournment.”

The matter is adjourned to 8 May for counsels written submissions.

Malie village chiefs getting ready to accompany the title holder to the official bestowal ceremony last August

Lefau Harry Schuster is representing Maualaivao Pepe Seiuli, Auimatagi Faafetai, Faamausili Sione, Faamausili Chris, Muagututagata Peter, Muagututagata Anesi Faalafi, Tulasunui Iutaua, Maualaivao Patelesio Pat Ah Him, Anesi Faalafi, Auimatgi Saoloto, Tualasunui Ualese,Tulasunui Maligiapu Saniu, Tuiatafu Iafeta, Seiuli Ueligitone, Salipomamanu Fonoti and Auimatagi Afa Faamausili.

Matafeo George Latu is representing Faamausili Moli Malietoa and the Prosecutor is Iliganoa Atoa.