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Australian based Talalelei Pauga extradited to stand trial in Samoa

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 19 JUNE 2023: The third defendant in the conspiracy to murder the former Prime Minister, has been granted extradition to stand trial in the Samoan court.

Talalelei Pauga has been fighting against the extradition order filed by the Attorney General’s office and the paper work is being processed to bring him over to answer the accusations against him.

Meanwhile, Senior Supreme Court Justice, Vui Clarence Nelson has adjourned the sentencing of two men found guilty of conspiring to murder former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi to 30 June 2023.

The accused are Lema’i Sione and Malele Paulo, who were found guilty by a panel of 5 Assessors in March 2023.

The adjournment was on an application by Malele Paulo’s new lawyer for an adjournment so she could get instructions from her client.

Lemai Sione and Malele Paulo
Lemai Sione and Malele Paulo

Lemai Sione and Malelele Paulo have been found guilty by a Panel of Assessors and are awaiting sentence.

Counsel Muriel Lui has been appointed by the Court to represent Paulo after Paulo sacked his former counsel Quentin Sauaga on the grounds that he did not follow his client’s instructions to appeal the guilty decision.

Lui was appointed through the Ministry of Justices & Court Administration (MJCA) legal assistance programme where the Registrar appoints any available counsel to represent the applicant.

Counsel for Lema’i Sione, Unasa Iuni Sapolu has already appealed the guilty verdict and the matter will be dealt with in the Court of Appeals next sitting.

Lemai and Paulo’s trial was conducted behind closed doors so details and evidence

presented before the Court could not be publicized as it might jeopardise Pauga’s upcoming trial.

Pauga and Paulo are both Australian citizens.