Thursday 15 July 2021, Mulinuu Apia Samoa. The Human Rights Protection (HRPP) Political Party has been granted an opportunity by the Court of Appeal during the proceedings of the latest court case in Samoa’s political crisis.
The case arises from an application by the Attorney General to strike out the ‘tail’ of a Supreme Court decision that declared the FAST swearing-in ceremony under a tent outside Parliament unlawful; however it also ordered the AG to advise those with the legal responsibilities to ensure Parliament convenes in 7 days.. or the Court would reconsider the swearing-in under the doctrine of necessity.
The application was filed by HRPP Counsel Aumua Ming Leung Wai who clarified to Samoa Global News, “HRPP will not formally be a party in the Court of Appeal case but they were given an opportunity to be heard”.
The initial parties are the Office of the Attorney General, Taulapapa Brenda Heather Latu, Matafeo George Latu, Ve’atauia Fa’atasi Puleiata, Papalii Li’o Ta’eu Masipa’u, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Schmidt and all FAST elected MPs.
The FAST Party is objecting to the application by the AG’s Office and says the 28th of June judgment of the Supreme Court ordering Parliament to convene should be effective.
Earlier this week Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese ordered the Head of State, the Caretaker Prime Minister, his Cabinet and all HRPP MPs be served. This does not mean they need to appear, but rather that they have had the opportunity to be part of Court proceedings, which HRPP has now taken up through the presence of legal Counsel.
The mention on Thursday noon was presided by Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese, Justice Niava Mata Tuatagaloa and Justice Tafaoimalo Tologata Leilani Tuala-Warren.
Representing the AG’s Office is QC Paul Rishworth while Benjamin Keith is representing the FAST Party together with Muriel Lui.
The Samoa Law Society is also a joinder party, observing proceedings and is represented by their Vice President Su’a Hellene Wallwork-Lamb.
Su’a clarified to the media that SLS is impartial and would be making submissions on a much broader basis rather than the focused interests of the parties.
“Our submissions will be more along the lines of upholding the Rule of Law, the Constitution and the Powers of the Court..” said Su’a.
The Chief Justice ordered that all relevant documents for this Court of Appeal case is to be served to the Caretaker Prime Minister, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister as well as the Head of State of Samoa.