28 Feb 2020

Samoa PM assassination plot accused granted bail

2:07 pm on 28 February 2020

Two men facing charges of conspiring to assassinate Samoan Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi have been released from custody after their application for bail was granted.

Lema'i Faioso Sione (left) and Malele Atofu Paulo

Lema'i Faioso Sione (left) and Malele Atofu Paulo Photo: RNZ Pacific / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

The alleged plotters, Malele Atofu Paulo also known as King Faipopo and Lema'i Faioso Sione, have been in custody for six months after police arrested them last August.

Malele and Lema'i were released on strict conditions including not to interfere with Tuilaepa or police witnesses.

They are also ordered not to post on social media anything that could interfere or relate to the pending trial.

Both accused thanked their lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, for fighting to release them as well as to their families and supporters for providing food while they were at Tanumalala prison.

They will appear on Monday for a hearing date to be set.

Malele and Lema'i both pleaded not guilty while a third accused on the same charges, Taualai Leiloa, has pleaded guilty.

Leiloa will be giving evidence in support of the prosecution case against Malele and Lema'i.

Leiloa is scheduled to be sentenced on 2 November.

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