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An administration error in the prisons system in Samoa resulted in a man being incarcerated for five years longer than he was sentenced to serve. Sio Agafili, 45, should have been released from prison in December 2015 after serving two concurrent jail terms. In November 2008, Mr Agafili was convicted of burglary and theft and sentenced to seven years in prison. A month later he was found guilty of other misdemeanours and slapped with a five-year sentence. The default procedure in Samoa's criminal justice system is that a convict with two sentences must serve them concurrently and not consecutively. The error was spotted recently by a judge when Mr Agafili appeared in court on another charge.



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In an interview with the Samoa Observer newspaper, Agafili described his anguish at spending too long behind bars. He said: "It's broken me into a million pieces. No one told me when my jail term would end. I lost count of the days. I don't remember much about when I should be out. I just know I had to serve my time behind bars." Mr Agafili's lawyer Muriel Lui spoke to reporters about the injustice suffered by her client. She said: "He's been imprisoned unlawfully. I've heard of other cases of a similar nature. This is not the first of this type." She added: "His right to liberty has definitely been breached." Ms Lui said that she would be seeking compensation for her client.

Sources:

  • https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/420724/samoa-man-jailed-for-5-years-too-long
  • https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/08/no-one-told-me-samoan-man-serves-five-more-years-in-prison-than-he-had-to
  • https://www.samoaobserver.ws/category/samoa/66126

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