Australia

Brisbane man faces extradition over alleged plot to kill Samoan PM

An extradition hearing for a Brisbane man, wanted in Samoa over an alleged conspiracy to murder that country's Prime Minister, has entered its second day.

Talalelei Pauga, 43, was taken into custody by Australian police on August 20 when Samoa made an extradition request to the federal Attorney-General's department.

It has been alleged the Brisbane man was involved in a plot to kill Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.

It has been alleged the Brisbane man was involved in a plot to kill Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.Credit:AP

He has been remanded at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre for almost five weeks since then, with his lawyers calling for his immediate release on human rights grounds as he was not brought before a magistrate when first arrested.

A spokesperson for the Attorney-General's office confirmed Mr Pauga was wanted "to face prosecution in Samoa for the offence of conspiracy to murder".

In November 2018, Mr Pauga was charged by Queensland Police after he threw a pig's head Mr Malielegaoi at a Logan church, south of Brisbane.

Those charges were later dropped, but Mr Pauga was arrested on August 20 after Samoa made the extradition request over an alleged conspiracy to murder.

His lawyers Greg Finlayson and George Mancini launched a complicated effort on Monday to convince a Brisbane magistrate to release Mr Pauga, arguing his detention was unlawful as Mr Pauga had not been brought before a magistrate upon his arrest.

The extensive hearing on Monday focused on administrative matters including Mr Pauga's right to privacy, with an unsuccessful attempt made by his lawyers to close the court to the public and journalists.

Lawyer Marc McKechnie, representing the Commonwealth Attorney-General's office and appearing on behalf of Samoa, on Tuesday told the court Samoa had made a lawful request to extradite Mr Pauga and Australia had to honour its obligations under international law.

Mr McKechnie said the charges against Mr Pauga were serious.

Outside court, a business associate of Mr Pauga said Mr Pauga was an Australian citizen who had lived for many years in Brisbane. He has four children, and is well-known in Samoan communities as a political activist.

The matter, before Brisbane Magistrate Belinda Merrin, continues.

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