King Faipopo Gives Court, Legal Run Around

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  • MORE LEGAL TWISTS AND TURNS   Malele Atofu Paulo  better known as King Faipopo
    MORE LEGAL TWISTS AND TURNS Malele Atofu Paulo better known as King Faipopo

By Deidre Fanene

District Judge Alalatoa Rosella Papali’i has several unexpected legal matters to sort out this week, after getting all set to pass sentence on Malele Atofu Paulo last Thursday.

Paulo who is better known as King Faipopo, wants to change his guilty plea to not guilty, for making defamatory allegations against the Prime Minister Tuilaepa.

He also wants to be discharged without conviction leaving room for more confusion.

His lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, has applied, to be removed as his legal counsel.

Judge Alalatoa disclosed in court last Friday the unanticipated changes when the new legal matters were brought to her attention. 

Her Honour went on to tell off Paulo that he does not dictate  with his legal demands how the court system operates.

He was also informed that his lawyer had applied for a lesser sentence but that a discharge without conviction is out the window because of his change of plea.

Paulo was warned that his lawyer had applied to remove herself as his lawyer.

Judge Alalatoa said that if she by any chance accepts Unasa's applications as well as his new instructions to change his plea, prosecution will bring back the 14 charges that he had originally been charged with.

Judge Alalatoa has called for a closed session in chambers with counsels from both sides on Tuesday to agree on the next step to take.

The series of continuing legal twists and turns, started when Paulo pleaded guilty to one charge of making false statements that affects the reputation of another person.

The admission of guilt last month was made after the court withdrew 14 charges on an application by Attorney General Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff before Judge Alalatoa.

The legal fate for Paulo is of huge public interest, after shocking allegations on social media, that the Prime Minister Tuilaepa was behind the assassination of the late Minister of Work, Luagalau Levaula Kamu.

Luagalau was a Member of PM Tuilaepa’s Cabinet when he was shot while the Government Party HRPP was celebrating a birthday anniversary.

Paulo lives with his family in Australia and early attempts by Government to extradite him to Samoa showed little promise.

The death of his mother forced him to come to Samoa where he was arrested and set off a series of legal events that still remains to be finalised.

PM Tuilaepa, has defended his decision to file defamatory charges against Paulo as a must, to uphold the integrity of the high office he holds.