4 Oct 2014

Samoa family in trouble over burning dead cousin's remains

2:45 pm on 4 October 2014

Eight family members in Samoa have escaped a jail sentence after admitting to charges of willfully damaging a grave of their dead cousin and burning his remains.

They have been convicted in the Supreme Court and ordered to pay fines of up to 350 US dollars within a week, or face six months jail.

According to the police, the defendants had committed the crime because of superstitious beliefs, after their mother, who is a traditional healer or Taulasea, had been ill.

They claimed her illness was caused by their dead cousin's evil spirit.

But Justice Vui Clarence Nelson has warned the family members to respect the dead, or they will be jailed if they re-appear in court for committing the same offences.