18 Jun 2012

Samoa Law Society to re-investigate misconduct charges against member

3:22 pm on 18 June 2012

A Samoan lawyer who is a member of the Samoa Law Society, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, is expected to have a second hearing before the organisation's tribunal after the Court of Appeal upheld his appeal that an earlier Society ruling was not independent.

In its ruling, the Court Appeal set aside the Society's decisions dating back to late 2010.

Mr Ponifasio's practising certificate was suspended for two years but he says the Court of Appeal has cleared him and he should be allowed to return.

However, the secretary of the Law Society, Rosella Papalii, has questioned the Court of Appeal decision's impact as the Society plans to pursue its charges of alleged misconduct.

The Law Society secretary says the charges are very serious.

The Appeal Court said its ruling had no effect on the validity of the charges.

It added that should the Law Society proceed on those charges, it must ensure it appoints a tribunal that had no role in the previous process.