A district court judge in Samoa has raised legal issues resulting from an interim order from a senior court registrar stopping the bestowal in August last year of the Malietoa paramount title.
In the preliminary hearing of the application by the defence to quash contempt of court charges against 16 matais of the village of Malie for disobeying the order, Justice Alalatoa Rosella Papalii, said the former Chief Justice and acting president of the Lands and Titles Court had first issued an order allowing the bestowal of the Malietoa.
The judge also revealed that on the day before the bestowal took place some matai in the neighbouring village of Afega applied for an interim order, which the registrar then issued to stop the whole ceremony.
But the Lands and Titles court in December 2017 had appointed Faamausili Moli Malietoa to be the next holder and for the bestowal of the title, or Saofa'i, to be carried out in accordance with Samoan traditions.
Justice Alalatoa said there was no application for a stay of that decision which supersedes the interim order from the court registrar.