Overseas Based Samoan Free to Return to the US, Fined and Sentenced to 3 Months Probation for Using Insulting Words on Social Media Posts

  1. Translated from Faa-Samoa by Nicole Palamo Wilson.  Tuifaasisina Perkins aka Pekina Tauvao, an American citizen, has had her travel documents returned to her and is finally able to return home after a year-long ordeal that saw her facing the Courts for making insulting statements on social media towards the Samoa Prime Minister and some Cabinet Ministers.

Tuifaasisina originally faced 25 charges however all charges against her were dismissed by the Court after a hearing where key witnesses of the Prosecution were thrown out by the Courts.

After 12 months of Court proceedings, she was eventually found guilty of one count of insulting words.

Tuifaasisina was fined $200 tala by District Court Judge Alalatoa Rosella Viane Papalii and handed 3-months probations.

Ms Perkins was ordered by the Court to refrain from making similar insulting posts on social media.

Faimalotumua Matthew Lemisio, legal counsel for Tuifaasisina, requested a discharge without conviction for his client.

Prosecution pushed for a prison sentence,  referencing the sentencing of  Malele Paulo, aka King Faipopo, who was sentenced to 7 weeks in 2019 for making false statements on social media that affected the reputation of a person namely former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

District Court Judge Alalatoa replied, “There’s a difference between making defamatory comments, which Malele Paulo was convicted of, and using insulting words, which is the charge faced by defendant.”

17 charges against Tuifaasisina, were previously dismissed due to the lack of evidence. Only one charge of using insulting words remained.

At sentencing, Judge Alalatoa took into account the fact that the accused had been fined $10,000 tala by the village of Faala, “Its a severe penalty compared to the $200 fine or the 3 month imprisonment.”

The secretary for the Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Political Party filed a case against Tuifaasisina Perkins Tauvao in September 2022, for making insulting posts on social media about the leader of the Samoan Government and other members of the political party.

Samoans around the globe are seen on a daily basis lashing out insults on social media especially Facebook and Tik Tok.

Many with Profile Pictures depicting the Bible and Biblical quotes, or Profile pictures of their young children or grandchildren – are seen making defamatory, insulting comments about people without evidence or basis.

Others  also use fake pages to hide between lashings towards others especially politicians and high profile Samoans.

Original story in Samoan by Ganasavea Manuia Tafeaga.