15 Oct 2003

American Samoan bail rules challenged

8:40 am on 15 October 2003

The chief justice of American Samoa is trying to stop lawyers abusing rules on bail procedures.

Michael Kruse says prosecutors and defence attorneys must now only apply for bail and release orders to judges and justices within business hours.

Previously attorneys had been allowed to present orders for judges to sign after hours, at the weekend and at home.

He says now all proposed orders of release for defendants on bail must be filed with the clerk of the court during normal business hours.

Legal counsel for defendants in custody are now barred from contacting any judge or justice after normal working hours unless in extraordinary circumstances.

The order comes after a car salesman was fired for falsifying an appraisal for a vehicle that was to be used as collateral for a bail bond.