20 Oct 2008

American Samoa's Director of Health faces jail after court no show

11:16 am on 20 October 2008

American Samoa's Director of Health, Utoofili Asofaafetai Maga, is likely to be at Tafuna Correctional Facility when he returns from an off island trip.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse has issued an arrest warrant for Utoofili's arrest for not honoring a subpoena to appear in the High Court.

The subpoena was for a hearing into the Department of Health's responsibilities under the law to provide services for the treatment of patients with mental conditions.

The court heard from Attorney General, Lisa Teesch-McGuire, that she met last week with Utoofili and the Department's Deputy Director, Elisapeta Ponausuia, and learned that Utoofili would be attending a funeral off island.

The prosecutor told the court she had advised the director of the consequences he would face if he didn't come to court.

Chief Justice, Michael Kruse, found this unacceptable and issued instructions that the director be held without bail.