Drug Trial of Six Defendants Delayed as one Enters Unexpected Guilty Plea

Tauiliili Harry Schuster leaving the Courthouse with Prosecution and Samoa Police after the trial was adjourned.

13 October 2020, Courthouse Mulinuu. The trial of six people arrested by police at Faatoia in December last year has been adjourned following an unexpected guilty plea by one of the defendants.

Pitoitua Aloese of Faatoia may become a police informant, as he changed his plea before Justice Vui Clarence Nelson through his lawyer Masoe Charlie Vaai this morning.

Aloese was charged alongside three men and two women when Police found guns and narcotics in a Faatoia residence while responding to a domestic violence call.

At the time, Police Commissioner Su’a Fuiavailiili told Samoa Global News that they had found “what appeared to be crystal meth and cannabis, as well as two firearms”.

Esther Tagi of Tufuiopa is represented by Unasa Iuni Sapolu and was seen with her baby in Court this morning. Ms Tagi had been pregnant at the time of her arrest last year.

Esther Tagi outside Court in Mulinuu.

Ana Fuimaono of Vaiusu is represented by Afamasaga Michael Soonalole while AJ Roache of Lotopa and Stuart Tuitama of Faleasiu are represented by Treena Atoa. Tauiliili Lefau Harry Schuster is representing a nephew, Sanele Schuster.

Defense Counsels Afamasaga Michael Soonalole and Unasa Iuni Sapolu.

The two women have been out on bail, while Pitoitua Aloese and other male defendants have been in custody since the Boxing Day incident last year.

The  matter has been rescheduled to be heard in December this year.

Su’a Fuiavailiili Egon Keil has taken a strong stance against drugs since taking up the role as Samoa’s Police Commissioner, with a series of drug busts in the last few years including a record-breaking $10 million tala worth of marijuana confiscated from a raid at Faleatiu last year.

“Meth is a highly addictive drug that destroys not only the person consuming it, but also corrodes the very fabric of communities, including our vulnerable youth;

“It has no place in Samoa, or anywhere else;

“We will not slow our pursuit of arresting and prosecuting those who are involved,” assures the Samoa Police Commissioner.

Maina Vai