21 Apr 2009

Asiata pleads not guilty in Samoa contempt of court case

3:11 pm on 21 April 2009

A trial is under way in Apia of the Samoa Democratic United party leader, Asiata Sale'imoa Va'ai, who is charged with two counts of contempt of court.

Asiata was charged by the police on the advice of the Attorney General after the SDUP leader had made series of statements in the Samoa Observer newspaper in March 2007.

Asiata is also being accused of publishing a letter to the editor in the same newspaper in which the police alleges he created a risk to the public's confidence in the court.

According to the police, the statements and the letter attacked the integrity and impartiality of the Chief Justice, Patu Tia'avasu'e Falefatu Sapolu and the Supreme Court.

Asiata's lawyer entered a not guilty plea.