22 May 2006

Judge in American Samoa calls for mentally ill man to be removed from correctional facility

9:12 am on 22 May 2006

America Samoa's Chief Justice Michael Kruse has told the government to ensure the safety of a defendant who is mentally challenged.

A motion for an expedited hearing was made by the attorney for Iosefa Vitale, who is charged with raping a woman with disabilities.

The Assisant Public Defender Lawrence Wilson says that Mr Vitale had suffered broken ribs and had bruises on his body but he cannot explain how he got hurt.

He says that it cannot be established whether Mr Vitale was abused by guards or inmates because Mr Vitale cannot answer questions because of his mental state.

Mr Wilson says he fears Mr Vitale would endure more suffering if he is not removed form the Tafuna Correctional Facility.

The Assistant Attorney General Frederick O'Brien has not opposed the request.