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Court of Appeal set for hearing Tuesday this week

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 07 NOVEMBER 2022: The Court of Appeal is set to hear four appeals starting Tuesday this week.

The cases include the appeal by convicted murderer, Kolagi Junior Lam against his life prison sentence he started serving in 2019.

The Court of Appeal Acting President Justice Rhys Harrison informed the lawyers for the parties to focus specifically on the reasonable doubt claim and to think carefully of the merits of the argument.

He also asked the parties to provide a chronology of the events of the trial for the court.

The other appeal is against the Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi Party woman Member of Parliament, To’omata Nora Leota, the Attorney General and the Office of the Electoral Commission.

The Appellants are the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) and Opposition women MPs Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tu’uau and Faagasealii Sapoa Feagiai.

The presiding judges also wanted the parties to provide materials such as any report or amendment copies so they could have an insight of the case.

They were surprised that none of these have been provided for them.

Counsel for Toomata, Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu assisted by pointing out the relevant references that can be provided.

The other two appeals are criminal matters.

The Court of Appeal comprise of Justice Rhys Harrison, Justice Raynor Ashner, Justice Sir William Young and Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren

New Court of Appeal Judge sworn in
This morning, the Member of the Council of Deputies, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia swore in the new Court of Appeal Justice Sir William Young in a brief ceremony at the Supreme Court.

Justice Young replaces Justice Robert Lloyd Fisher QC who had presided as President over Samoa’s Court of Appeal in the past.

appeal william young
appeal william young

Justice Sir William Young being sworn in before the Member of the Council of Deputies, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia.

Samoa’s Chief Justice, Satiu Simativa Perese welcomed Justice Young who has strong connection to Samoa as his grandfather was the former Chief Justice here during the New Zealand administration.

Prior to joining the Samoa Court of Appeal, Justice Young served in New Zealand as a Queens Council in 1991 and a High Court Judge in 1997.

In 2004, he was appointed to the New Zealand Court of Appeal, and in 2006, became the President of the New Zealand Court of Appeal.

He was also the recipient of the Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007 and in 2009, was knighted Sir William Young of the same Order.

He was promoted in 2010 to the New Zealand Supreme Court and in 2019-2020 was the Chair of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack in Christchurch.

He graduated from Cambridge University in 1974 with an LLB First Class Honours and was awarded a gold medal in law by the Cambridge Law Society for top law student graduate.

He and his Court of Appeal colleagues will preside over the 4 appeal cases this week.