His Honour, Chief Justice Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu, presided over the trial involving a brother and sister, in the Supreme Court yesterday.
The siblings are from Samalaeulu, Savai’i.
Appearing for their first time in Court, their trial is prosecuted by a lawyer of the Attorney General’s Office, Fatumanavaupolu OfisaTagaloa.
The brother is 58 years old and his sister is 35.
During the court hearing, His Honour asked both defendants if they wanted counsels to represent them.
They said yes, but told the court that they could not pay for a lawyer’s fees.
In response, His Honour advised that they could seek legal assistance, if they wanted to.
The couple had been held at Tafaigata Jail since 16 January, 2018.
This time, they are out on bail, and in his ruling, His Honour told them: “Before you go back to Tafaigata, tell the Police officers there to take you to the registrar to fill up a form, so that you can apply for legal aid.”
He also advised: “This matter will be adjourned to the 12th February, 2018 to wait for your request for legal aid.”
However, the sister asked the Court if she could be released, saying: “Your Honour, I have a three-year-old daughter who is sick and she needs me.
“I am wondering if I could be released so that I can take care of her.
“I have been away from her for two weeks now and she needs me.”
The prosecution did not oppose bail, however, her brother told the Court that they have been banned from their village in Savai’i, and they are now residing at Vaivase-Uta.
Chief Justice Patu granted bail for both defendants.
They were ordered to surrender their travel documents to the registrar and to reside with their families at Vaivase-Uta.
The brother was ordered to sign in at the Apia Police Station every Monday and Wednesday before 12 noon, whereas his sister was ordered to sign in every Tuesday and Thursday.
Advised Chief Justice Patu: “I know you will both reside at Vaivase-Uta, but you must live separately from each other.
“You must not stay together otherwise the Police will detain you again, and you will be held in custody until the Court comes up with a decision.”
The matter was reported to the Police on 16 January 2018.