3 Jul 2008

Samoa politician gets wish to have legal cases presided over by an overseas judge

10:25 am on 3 July 2008

The Supreme Court in Samoa has granted the application from a lawyer representing the Samoa Democratic United party leader, Asiata Saleimoa Vaai, for an overseas judge to preside over a series of cases involving him and the government.

But the chief justice, Patu Tiava'asu'e Falefatu Sapolu, says he was reluctant to agree given the costs involved.

The chief justice says the cases could have been dealt by the local judges with the court of appeal as another avenue if their decision was not accepted by the parties involved.

Asiata has already filed eight legal actions against the government, with the Prime Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and the speaker of Parliament, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Lei'ataua, as defendants.

The SDUP leader is also facing two charges of contempt of court filed by the Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai.

All the cases are now waiting on the availability of an overseas judge.