30 Mar 2009

Former church minister in Samoa clears of attempted rape charge

11:44 am on 30 March 2009

A former church minister of the Congregational Christian Church in Samoa, Lealofi Oto, has been acquitted of one count of attempted rape in a ruling by a Supreme Court judge who disagreed with a guilty verdict by a panel of four assessors.

However the guilty verdict for one count of indecently assaulting a 17 year old girl still stands and the court is scheduled to deliver a decision against the 61 year old accused next month.

The ruling comes after the presiding judge, Vui Clarence Nelson, ordered further legal submissions from counsels because of contradictory evidence by the complainant and her mother relating to the attempted rape charge during a two day trial.

The judge has found the charge was not proven beyond reasonable doubt because of lack of police evidence