8 Oct 2008

Samoa police deny beating detained New Zealander

4:59 pm on 8 October 2008

Samoa police have denied allegations officers were involved in the beating of a New Zealand man who was detained and injured.

Police have been questioned over their failure to notify New Zealand officials when the man was first taken to prison, where he was allegedly beaten.

Our correspondent Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says police claim the man, who is now under supervision in an Apia hospital, is violent in nature.

"I spoke to the assistant police commissioner Papalii Lio, and he's denying the allegations that police were involved in the beating of the New Zealand man at the Tafa'igata prison last week. He told me the man is very violent and they are still awaiting the psychiatric report from the mental health department of the Ministry of Health. And also the man was in Savaii last week, where there were reports from the Tuasivi police, saying that the man acted very violently when he was drunk while he was staying at some of the resorts on the big island of Savaii. So that's why they put him under their supervision in custody last week."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says new allegations have emerged that the New Zealander had been beaten up by other prisoners.

The man has now been charged on one count of assault against two police officers, and the court hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.