13 Feb 2012

Samoa matai wins damages after being defamed in village council

4:23 pm on 13 February 2012

A court ruling in a defamation case in Samoa has sent a strong warning about the dangers of slander and spreading unfounded rumour in a village setting.

A high ranking matai, Unasa Faapupula, of Faga village, has to pay damages and legal costs of more than 8,000 U.S. dollars after the court ruled she had defamed another matai, Toala Tulouna Ropati.

She had complained to the village council that the plaintiff was in a sexual relationship with another woman in the village, but couldn't support her claim.

Our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says the case highlights the consequences for villagers of publicly defaming someone.

"This is a very good case of actually what happens in village life, when people say things that might defame other people. You have to be very careful because there is a law here that you might end up in court being sued for spreading slander which defamed someone else."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia