Supreme Court

Samoa Supreme Court quiet on sixth woman MP

The Court’s concern was raised when the Office of the Electoral Commissioner (OEC) sought an explanatory ruling (declaratory relief) on how the constitutional quota for women MPs should be interpreted. 

The Attorney General, Su’a Hellene Wallwork filed the motion on behalf of the Electoral Commissioner. 

In essence, the Commissioner asked the court to explain if the relevant section of the constitution (Article 44) needs to be activated to ensure a minimum of six women sit in the legislature, how the calculation of the additional member would be conducted.

Supreme Court Justice in Samoa expresses concern at state of juvenile facility

After a judicial party visited Tanumalala Prison Justice Nelson said they made suggestions to the Ministry of Police and Prisons of the need for a less restrictive facility for the teenagers.

On a previous visit Justice Nelson said the inmates looked like "caged animals," who were forced to sleep on the floor.

He said conditions have improved but they made suggestions for educational programs and a more suitable building.

Deputy Commissioner, Leiataua Samuel Afamasaga said the teenagers don't interact with adult prisoners.

Samoan man convicted of people trafficking and slavery in NZ takes case to Supreme Court

Joseph Auga Matamata, 66, a chief, was convicted in March 2020 for bringing 13 Samoans to New Zealand and exploiting them for more than two decades. He was sentenced to 11 years in jail.

In April, he appealed his convictions arguing the trial judge had misled the jury over what constituted slavery, while the Crown appealed his sentence, saying it was too lenient.

But the Court of Appeal dismissed his bid in August. They also dismissed the Crown's bid to increase the man's 11-year sentence, but ruled he must serve at least five years in prison.

Court stops Samoa MP from forcing by-election

The Samoa Observer reports the two parties had already advertised their intentions to withdraw the election petitions with Tuisa agreeing to resign from office to trigger a by-election.

But when the matter was called on Monday to formalise the withdrawal of the petitions, the court denied the application and set a hearing date for the case.

It will now be heard on July 27th.

Tuisa, who is a lawyer by profession, is accused of six counts of bribery and two counts of influencing voters during polling day.

Samoa's parliament ordered to sit within a week

But it has also ruled that parliament must sit within 7 days, giving FAST the ability to declare government and be sworn in.

Currently FAST has 26 seats, while the caretaker HRPP government has 24.

However due to the political and constitutional impasse since April's general election, parliament has not yet convened.

The Appellate Court on Friday declared that the issue of a contentious sixth women's electoral seat could not prevent the convening of parliament.

Samoa's Speaker disregards Supreme Court ruling

The court on Sunday had declared the Head of State, Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aleto'a Sualauvi II, acted unlawfully on Saturday in suspending parliament.

The extraordinary session of the Supreme Court found in favour of the newcomer Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party's challenge to Tuimaleali'ifano's edict voiding his previous call for parliament to convene tomorrow.

FAST was expected to declare its majority when parliament met, and announce Samoa's first woman prime minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa.

Samoa Supreme Court hears FAST party challenge

Without explanation, the Head of State Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi announced he was suspending tomorrow's sitting of Parliament.

The opposition Fast party had been expected to secure a majority of seats when the assembly sat.

Fast's lawyer, Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu, told the Samoa Observer the suspension is unlawful and the party is seeking court orders to allow Parliament to re-convene tomorrow.

Our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia is at the Supreme Court and said there are police covering all the entry points.

Samoa court dismisses call for second election

Announcing the second election earlier this month, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II told Samoans it was the best way to break the political deadlock that emerged after last month's election.

However the court today found that he had no constitutional power to call for the election while outstanding matters relating to April's election were still unresolved.

This decision follows another ruling by the court earlier today which gave FAST an electoral majority, by voiding the addition of an un-elected extra women's seat.

Extra seat thrown out: FAST wins Samoa election

It means the decision breaks a month-long deadlock from the April election, handing the newcomer FAST party a majority.

The electoral office last month added the extra seat purportedly to meet a provision in the constitution that 10 percent of seats are reserved for women.

That extra seat fell to the caretaker HRPP government, creating a 26-all deadlock.

But the Supreme Court today returned a unanimous verdict ruling that decision was unconstitutional.

Decision on fresh elections in Samoa due Monday

The Supreme Court yesterday (Friday) heard challenges to the new ballot called last week by the Head of State, Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II.

Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese said the hearing would test the extent of the powers held by the Head of State - O le Ao o le Malo.

Tuimaleali'ifano called the vote on the advice of the caretaker Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) prime minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, purportedly to break the 26-seat each deadlock with the newcomer Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party.