20 Nov 2009

Traditional healers in Samoa found not guilty of manslaughter

8:54 am on 20 November 2009

A couple in Samoa have been found guilty of Actual Bodily Harm but not guilty of manslaughter after a panel of four assessors reached a verdict yesterday.

Felavasa'i and Sela Lavasi'i, Taulasea or traditional healers, were tried last week for witchcraft but the charge was dismissed after three days because the police lacked the evidence to prove it.

The defendants were laid the charge after the death of a 45 year-old woman who they placed in a plastic container, partially filled with boiling hot water, as part of a treatment to chase away demons of the woman's family.

According to police evidence, the mother in-law of the deceased had sought the defendants traditional healing when her daughter-in-law became ill.

Speaking to reporters after the verdict the woman, Sela Lavasi'i says they had stopped practicing traditional healing and treatments after the death of the woman because they had become born again Christians.

The couple will be sentenced on December 18 on the charge of actual bodily harm which carries a jail term.