24 Nov 2015

Samoa trial for defeating the course of justice begins

8:47 am on 24 November 2015

In Samoa, a trial has begun in which four people, including a church minister's wife, a senior police officer, and the President of the Samoa Victim Support group, are accused of attempting to defeat the course of justice.

Court house in Samoa

Court house in Samoa Photo: RNZ / Mary Baines

Inspector Sala'a Salale, Elaine Ulia, Siliniu Lina Chang and Tumua Tofete face five charges of attempting to defeat the course of justice.

SVSG President, Lina Chang

SVSG President, Lina Chang Photo: RNZI

The witness testified on Monday that she had sought help from the Samoa Victim Support Group in 2012 because of an alleged indecent assault on her by the wife of a church minister in her village.

The witness said that after filing a complaint, the police charged the minister's wife with one count of assault and one of indecent assault.

However, the case was withdrawn and dismissed before the district court back in July 2013.

The witness told the court that during her stay in the care of the Samoa Victim Support Group she was asked in a meeting called by the president, Lina Chang, to withdraw her complaint because she had made wrong allegations.

She said she was shocked to find the president victimizing her after three months of living in one of the organization's shelters.

The prosecution has nine witnesses including the parents of the alleged victim.