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Witness denies being pushed into complaint

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A key witness has denied being pressured to file a complaint of sexual harassment against the former Fire Commissioner, Seve Tony Hill.

On Wednesday, the court heard that the complaint was filed more than five years after the alleged incident took place.

Seve is facing two charges, one count of indecent assault and one count of common assault.

During cross examination, defence counsel Patrick Fepuleai asked the witness, “Why didn’t you complain after the first incident in 2007 ... 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 until 2013 and you only just filed a formal complaint in May?”

The complainant, Sefulu Siaosi, 28, is an employee of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA). She said she did not consider filing a complaint until Seve criticised her to other officers.

This followed years of rumours from other staff saying Seve had told them she was incompetent.

“He embarrassed me in-front of our staff [saying things like] that I’ve been working very long and still don’t know how to do my job,” Ms. Siaosi said.

“I thought maybe it’s because I didn’t do what Seve asked me, is the reason why he’s treating me like this.”

Mr. Fepuleai also questioned Ms. Siaosi whether it’s true she submitted her complaint letter during the time the Commissioner’s contract was finished and the position was being advertised? A time when Seve applied for the position, as did Assistant Commissioner Fa’afouina Mupo?

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Ms. Siaosi rejected the inference, saying she was the only one that wrote the complaint.

Mr. Fepuleai asked her again, if there was anybody who pushed her to write the report about Seve.

“No,” she said.

The alleged incident happened on 2nd November 2007.

According to Ms. Siaosi, the day started with an ordinary site inspection, when Seve told her to accompany him to the BOC gas plant at Vaitele to take some photos.

She said she and Seve travelled in the vehicle FIRE.01 while others came in another office vehicle.

When they left their office at Tuana’imato, Seve asked her if they can start a relationship, but she didn’t answer because she was surprised.

She also told the Court that Seve touched her breast, starting from the left towards the other side but she pushed his hand away.

After, when they went back to the Tuana’imato station, “Seve went outside and I stayed in the car,” said Ms. Siaosi.

Everything had been going fine in the morning but by 1pm to 2pm in the afternoon she went to their Assistant Commissioner Fa’afouina Mupo and told him about what happen to her, because it really ruined her day.

They talked until 4 to 5pm in the evening, and she was advised by Mr. Mupo to write a report to the Board to explain what happened.

However, she changed he mind because of the relationship her aunty has with Seve’s wife.

In December 2012 after Cyclone Evan, they visited some of the affected areas, and Seve wanted her to accompany him to list down the affected areas.

The visit went to Lefaga and on their way back, near Aleisa, she said Seve started to ask her the same question he asked before.

Mr. Fepuleai also asked why she wrote in her diary on the 6th November 2007, that Seve touched her “upper body.”

“Why didn’t you write what really happened that day in your diary, saying that Seve touched your breast?”

She replied, “Those are the words I thought that day, and I wrote them down.”

The hearing continued Wednesday afternoon with Mr. Mupo and two other witnesses from Police called to give evidence.

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