By Staff Writer
The infamous King Faipopo who was arrested in Apia at the weekend by police is free on bail, but it will be a while before he is allowed to return to Australia as his home base.
Police charged the 45 year old who is officially Malele Atofu Paulo of Vailoa, Aleipata, for making false statements that were defamatory ‘with the intention of causing harm’ to the intended person targeted.
His defamatory remarks were aimed at the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who filed an official complaint with the police.
A police statement confirmed that investigations against the defendant started last year in August 2018 on an official complaint filed by the Prime Minister for the defamatory comments.
King Faipopo allegedly stated in public ‘that the complainant committed murder, corruption, theft, gun smuggling’ and other serious allegations.
The police, however, were unable to reach the defendant who allegedly made the offensive comments online from Australia.
He followed it up with several additional online video recordings calling on the complainant to come and get him.
Official attempts were made through the Office of the Attorney General to have him extradited from Australia but was unsuccessful.
He is reportedly in Samoa for his mother’s funeral and was taken in by police on Friday for questioning.
He was in police custody when he managed to connect live online to confirm that he was at the cellphone company Digicel when the arrest was made last Friday 8th February 2019.
His lawyer reportedly managed to arrange bail for him and was released the next day on Saturday 9th February 2019.
“He has been remanded at liberty and is scheduled to appear before the court on 5th March 2019 and to report to the Criminal Investigation Division every Friday,” the police statement confirmed.
It is unclear how many were charges filed against him by police for making false statements but “…if convicted the defendant is liable to a fine not exceeding 175 penalty units or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months per charge.”
The police statement added, “…the damage that defamatory statements on social media outlets and cyber bullying has done to several members of the community is a matter that these laws are designed to address.
“Where complaints are laid with the police, we will do our best to assist those being victimised on social media platforms by any false statements. “