23 Sep 2016

Samoa's suspended top prosecutor denies traffic charges

1:12 pm on 23 September 2016

Samoa's District court has set a two-day trial in November to hear two traffic charges against the suspended Director of Public Prosecution.

Mauga Precious Chang is facing one count of negligent driving causing injuries and one of dangerous driving.

Director of Public Prosecution Mauga Precious Chang has been charged with traffic offences.

Director of Public Prosecution Mauga Precious Chang has been charged with traffic offences. Photo: Tipi Autagavaia

Her defense lawyer and former Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai, entered a not guilty plea.

The suspended Director is facing one count of negligent driving causing injuries and one of dangerous driving.

The Attorney general's hired overseas prosecutor, Satiu Simativa Perese, has tendered in court a letter which revealed the police are awaiting the court's decision on who should be prosecuting the case.

The letter is signed by the acting Police Commissioner, Fauono Talalelei Tapu.

But the private senior lawyer in which the powers of the suspended Director of Public Prosecution has been delegated to has also tendered another letter from the police informing the court that the police does not authorise the Attorney General to seek for an outside prosecutor.

The letter is understood to have been signed by one of the assisitant commissioner, Afamasaga Michael Soonalole, who was the acting police commissioner in the past four weeks.

The presiding judge, Vaepule Vaemoa Vaai, has decided to await a ruling of the Supreme Court on who would prosecute the case.

The Attorney General has filed for an order against the National Prosecution office to prosecute the case because of conflict of interest.

This preliminary matter will be heard on Monday.