The ruling was handed down on Wednesday, 23 March, by overseas Justices Robert Fisher and Raynor Asher.
Others found guilty of contempt include HRPP Secretary and Member of Parliament Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi and Lawyer, Maiava Visekota Peteru.
During the virtual hearing held earlier this month, former Prime Minister Tuilaepa, Deputy Leader Fonoteo Lauofo Meredith, and HRPP Secretary Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi; Maiva Visekota Peteru and Tologata Sioeli Alofaifo submitted affidavits apologising to the court.
Fonotoe and Tologata, along with former Attorney General, Savalenoa Mareva Betham-Annandale, former Clerk of the House, Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei, and the Former Speaker of the House, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa'afisi were acquitted of the contempt charge.
According to the decision, remarks made by Tuilaepa "that sought to bring the Court into contempt and undermine its authority".
"In general terms, they were highly critical of the Court decisions and critical of the Judges involved in those decisions, to the point of abuse and insult."
Although Tuilaepa filed a statement of defence, he offered no evidence to challenge the facts alleged against him.
By accusing the Court of being in collusion with the FAST Party, and describing judges using language such as "tricks" and "treason", Tuilaepa (the first respondent in this case) undermined public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary.
By undermining the authority of the Court, he undermined the rule of law.
The Court stated: "Accordingly, we find the first respondent to be in contempt of court in making the statements referred to."
The Court also ruled on the obstruction claim against Tuilaepa. The judges noted that there was no doubt that the Head of State rejected important Court decisions and remarked:
"And on all the evidence before us, it is reasonable to conclude that in doing so the Head of State was acting on the first respondent's advice.
"In other circumstances that might have made the first respondent guilty of aiding and abetting a contempt."
The Court also disposed of the defiance of court orders claim.
The court ruled that Tuilaepa could not be guilty of encouraging someone else to breach a coercive order if there was no such order, to begin with.
"However, no coercive order was made against the Head of State nor could it have been.
"The first respondent cannot be a party to the breach of a coercive order if there was no such order, to begin with."
In Lealailepule's case, the court found him guilty of contempt, although he withdrew his statements and made no attempt to defend them.
"These statements of the fifth respondent, which are the most extreme of those pleaded, plainly express contempt for the Court.
"As we have said in relation to the First Respondent, by accusing the Court of being in collusion with the FAST Party, and by using insulting words such as 'coup', 'cursed' and 'crooked' to describe the judges, the fifth respondent inevitably undermined public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary.
"He even stated that the Chief Justice '…was coming to kill us'. In so undermining the authority of the Court, he undermined the rule of law.
"Accordingly, we find the fifth respondent to have been in contempt of court in making the statements alleged."
The sixth respondent Maiava, a Solicitor of the Supreme Court, did not challenge the evidence provided against her.
"We set out the most egregiously denigrating and insulting extract from these statements: Statements made by the Sixth Respondent on a livestream panel interview shown on TV1 and other platforms on 15 August: 'We are doing all of this as the opposition including criticisms of wrong and dishonest decisions currently happening' and that the second applicant 'is bold because … she has the judiciary'.
"These statements express contempt for the Court. By unjustifiably using the word 'dishonest' to describe a Court decision, and implying a collusive connection between the second applicant and the Courts, the sixth respondent must have undermined public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary.
"In so undermining the authority of the judiciary, they undermine the rule of law.
"Accordingly, we find the sixth respondent to have been in contempt of court in making those statements."
In order to try and move on from the post-election turmoil, FAST and HRPP had agreed to ask the Court to discontinue the proceedings.
The Court also took into account that agreement was no more than a proposal.
"However, we have attached great significance to the views expressed in it by the current Prime Minister and the FAST party.
"They feel strongly that it is time for Samoa to put these election arguments behind them.
"That would allow Samoa to unite in addressing greater challenges that lie ahead such as Covid and climate change.
"To that end, they were prepared to discontinue the contempt proceedings altogether. If we had accepted the discontinuance, it would have left the respondents without penalty.
"Given that the respondents were the ones at risk in the proceedings, they were hardly about to disagree.
"But the Prime Minister and her party had nothing personal or political to gain by discontinuing. We accept that as the Government elected by the people of Samoa, they know what is best for the country. Although it is important to publicly record and condemn these contempts of court, we see no need to go further."
The Court ruled that the precedent set by these proceedings now stands.
"It should now be plain how the Court would deal with repetitions. On this occasion, penalties would simply inflame disruptions and conflicts that have done enough harm already.
"The current Prime Minister and FAST party are anxious to put them to bed. It is not our place to disagree.
"We find the first, fifth, and sixth respondents guilty of contempt of court. In very special circumstances, we impose no penalty. We find the other respondents not guilty of contempt of court."
Photo file Caption: Leader of the Samoa's Human Rights Protection party, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi