8 Dec 2011

American Samoa rugby player gets suspended sentence for referee assault

4:23 pm on 8 December 2011

An American Samoa rugby player has been given a suspended jail sentence of one year for assaulting a referee from Samoa, who suffered a broken nose and was hospitalised.

Selefuti Tago from Nu'uuli Village pleaded guilty in the High Court to a third degree misdemeanour charge in July for assaulting Ponifasio Vasa, who officiated in a championship game between Nu'uuli and Avele.

Our correspondent Monica Miller says Chief Justice Michael Kruse has also banned Tago from playing rugby for two years and fined him one-thousand US dollars.

"The court basically said that he has to pay restitution towards the medical expenses of the victim. And he was given a 90 day period to pay that. Now if he isn't able to pay that within that time, then he will be jailed, for every dollar that he can't pay, he'll be jailed for one day."

Monica Miller says Tago had been remanded in custody for 130 days before his case was ruled on.

Four other men who were also charged in relation to the assault are awaiting trial.