Court reserves decision in application by suspended HRPP members


The Supreme Court has reserved its decision on the application filed by Senior HRPP members against the Speaker of the House Li’o Papalii Taeu Masipa’u, over their indefinite suspension from Parliament. 

In May, 2022 Human Rights Protection Party Leader, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Member of Parliament for Faleata No 3 Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, were suspended from Parliament indefinitely, after they were found to be in violation of standing orders.

This is a result of a formal complaint by Deputy Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio lodged against the two senior MPs claiming they had brought Parliament into disrepute after their conviction by the Supreme Court on contempt of court charges.

In court, the applicant’s Counsel Peter Lithgow told the court the suspension is “inconsistent with the Constitution because it undermines the rights and duties of an MP to serve his district and people of Samoa.”

He said the decision is not only illegal but also unlawful and should be declared void.

Adding that “in other words, the date when the suspension starts is known but not when it finishes,” argued Lithgow.

However, Counsel Benjamin Keith for the Speaker filed an objection noting the Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the application and the motion was an abuse of process, and that the Applicants are questioning internal matters pertaining to Parliament.

The presiding Judges were Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese, Senior Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren.