17 May 2014

Samoa's Fonotoe fined for obstructing police task

6:24 am on 17 May 2014

Samoa's deputy prime minister Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo has been ordered to pay nearly $US90 or 200 Samoan tala in police costs as his sentence for interfering with police duties.

Associate minister Muagututagata Pita Ah Him was discharged without conviction of obstruction and ordered to pay over $US112 or 250 tala.

In April, Fonotoe and Muagututagata were found guilty of obstructing police while they tried to carry out a blood-alcohol test last year.

District Court Judge Vaepule Vaemoa Va'ai said the real victims of Fontoe's offending were the police constables who were on duty.

He said neither of the officers affected has since received any form of an apology from Fonotoe to convey his remorse.

Judge Va'ai noted that Fonotoe had offered a public apology but he said he failed to see the significance of the public apology.

He said the conduct the deputy prime minister was found guilty of was not directly against the public but against the police officers.

In the associate minister's case, Judge Va'ai said he complied with everything the police asked of him except perhaps breathing correctly into the breathalyzer machine and he would probably not have left the scene when he did, without Fonotoe's intervention.