Court to decide today on quash motion in defamation case


District Court Judge Leota Raymond Schuster will decide today on the motion to quash filed on behalf of Tiumalumatua Maifea Fetu, in relation to his alleged defamation case. 

During the hearing yesterday, Defence Counsel Fuimaono Sefo Ainuu, cited the Crimes Act 2015 on the jurisdiction, section 4, which outlines that the Samoan Court has no jurisdiction to hear or try anyone on an offence that was committed outside of Samoa.

The criminal charges against the Australian Broadcaster were in relation to a complaint lodged by Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi over alleged “derogatory” claims made against how the FAST Administration took office.

Fuimaono said under Section 4(1) applies to all offences for which the offender may be proceeded against and tried in Samoa.

Judge Schuster asked the Defense Counsel to pinpoint which part of section 4 that excludes offences committed outside of Samoa. Adding the defense legal arguments depends on proving that the Samoa legislation does “exclude” offences that were committed outside Samoa.

Furthermore, the District Court Judge stated that while Section 4(1) refers to “all offences” Section 4(2) applies to all acts done or committed in Samoa and subsections 3 and 4.

In response, Fuimaono pointed to section 5 which states that no act done or committed outside Samoa is an offence, unless it is an offence by virtue of any provision of this Act or of any other enactment.

Judge Schuster asked whether a person working for Samoa in Australia but stolen public funds and if this person can be tried in Samoa and Fuimaono said no, but his honours pointed to section 6 which outlines the Place of commission of the offence.

For the purpose of jurisdiction, where any act or omission forming part of any offence, or any event necessary to the completion of any offence, occurs in Samoa, the offence shall be deemed to be committed in Samoa, whether the person charged with the offence was in Samoa or not at the time of the act, omission, or event.” 

If the offence was partially committed overseas and partially committed in Samoa, then that person can be tried here,” said the Judge.