Supreme Court overturns former Chief Justice’s ruling on police retaining money seized in raid

    Liliu 'e he fakamaau lahi e tu'utu'uni fakamaau'anga ki mu'a ke tauhi e pa'anga lau mano ne ma'u mo Sione Filipe Jr 'i hono hua 'a hono 'api nofo'anga' fekau'aki mo e faito'o konatapu. Vakai ki he Kaniva' mo e talanoa' ni he fakatoulea'. 'I he tu'utu'uni 'a Fakamaau Lahi Cato na'a' ne pehē kuo ne tui ki he 'ū fakamo'oni kuo 'ohake ko e pa'anga pe 'eni ia mei he pisinisi 'a Filipe' kae 'ikai mei ha'ane tila faito'o konatapu hangē ko ia ne mahalo'i 'e he kau polisi'. Na'e 'uluaki tu'utu'uni foki 'a e fakamaau lahi ki mu'a' Paulsen ke puke 'a e pa'anga' ni, ka ne pehē 'e Cato ne toe 'i ai e ngaahi fakamo'oni ia ne 'ikai 'o hake 'i he taimi ne lele ai 'a e hopo' 'ia Paulsen, ka kuo toki 'ohake 'eni pea kuo tu'unga ai 'ene tu'utu'uni 'ana ko 'eni.

    The Supreme Court has ordered the police to return money seized from a local businessman.

    The money was taken by police after a raid on Johnny Felipe Jnr’s property following an accusation of bribery.

    During the raid the police confiscated TP$10,912 on Felipe‘s person, TP$125, US$96.25 in a drawer , TP$31,178, Aus$1385 and NZ$15.40 in a safe and TP$2000 allegedly given as inducement to steal methamphetamine from the police exhibit room.

    Following the seizure, the money was kept by the police.

    During an earlier hearing in the Supreme Court,  former Lord Chief Justice Paulsen ruled that the money could be held by police for three months .

    However, Acting Chief Justice Cato has now overturned that ruling.

    He said Mr Justice Paulsen had not been aware of evidence regarding the conduct of Felipe‘s business.

    He said police had not seized the money with proper cause and did not have enough evidence to justify their suspicions that Felipe had been engaged in money laundering.

    He said Felipe had shown evidence that the money was the result of legitimate business practices, including the rental of storage space and cash transactions which were favoured by many Chinese business people.

    There was also evidence that the foreign currency came from overseas travel.

    He said the police had no reason to retain the money on the grounds that it was related to drug  dealing.

    Acting Chief Justice Cato therefore ordered that Mr Justice Paulsen’s order be rescinded and the money be released to Felipe.

    The main points

    • The Supreme Court has ordered the police to return money seized from a local businessman.
    • The money was taken by police after a raid on Johnny Felipe Jnr’s property following an accusation of bribery.

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