Acting Police Commissioner Leiataua Samuelu Afamasaga has confirmed that the 17 year old youth seen pushing a trolley during the supporters parade last weekend had an outstanding warrant of arrest against him for failing to appear in Court to face charges of burglary and theft.
A photo taken by Marc Membrere of the Government Press of the teenager pushing a shopping trolley with a dog running alongside became the most popular shot of the parade.
However when a video of Police arresting the teenager was shared on social media, a public outcry arose, with the misunderstanding that the arrest was related to the trolley being on the road during the parade.
Acting Commissioner Leiataua has clarified that the youth was not arrested by Police for pushing a trolley through the town area during the rugby supporters parade.
“There were no arrests made by the police relating to the parade last Saturday,” said Leiataua.
The acting Police Commissioner explained that when the teenager’s photo went viral on social media, Police were able to identify him as a youth with an outstanding warrant of arrest.
The 17 year old appeared before the Youth Court this week to face at least six charges against him.
He was released on bail to his mother who was in Court, with strict curfew restrictions on when he is allowed to be out of the family home.
Members of the public and rugby fans around the globe who thought the teenager was arrested for pushing the trolley have posted sympathetic messages calling for Police to release him. Some unsuspecting members of the public have even started a fundraising page for the teenager.
The 17 year old is on bail until his hearing in the Youth Court later this year.