The Supreme Court of Samoa takes priority over any other Courts.
That is what the Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu, reminded on Monday.
His Honour Patu raised the point during the Criminal Mention this week when senior lawyer, Maiava Visekota Peteru, did not appear in Court.
She was apparently mediating a matter in the Land and Titles Court, as she is an accredited Mediator.
Leota Tima Leavai appeared on behalf of Maiava when a criminal case was called before the Supreme Court.
“Ms. Peteru advises she was just served with the medical report this morning and she needs time therefore to discuss the report with the defendant and she respectfully asked for an adjournment,” the Court was told.
That’s when the Chief Justice intervened and asked for Maiava’s whereabouts.
“She’s a Mediator for the Lands and Titles Court at 11am (Monday) and she apologizes,” said Leota.
The Chief Justice appeared unhappy.
He said this is the second time Maiava has not appeared in the matter.
“The last time Ms. Peteru did not appear and the matter was adjourned to today (Monday) for her to appear,” said the Chief Justice.
“And now again she has not been before the Court for this matter is called."
“I think Counsel must be aware that this Court is elementary, it takes priority or precedence over any other."
“This is the Supreme Court of Samoa; the mediation of the Land and Titles Court, this Court’s business takes priority."
“I am surprised that Ms. Peteru does not know.”
The Chief Justice denied the motion for adjournment and ordered Maiava to appear in Court at 2pm that day. The matter was then stood down.
It was not possible to get a comment from Maiava.