13 Jun 2003

American Samoa High Court denies change of venue for trial

2:32 pm on 13 June 2003

The High Court of American Samoa has ruled out a motion to change the venue in the trial of defendants charged with operating a sex-for-sale business at a local bar.

The defendants claimed that the pre-trial publicity has tainted potential jurors and affected their right to a fair trial.

The defence submitted articles and letters to the editor in the Samoa News about the case, but the judges concluded the articles were not inflammatory.

The judges also said a change of venue is not feasible in American Samoa - because of the territory's size.

It says if the media has affected jury opinion this would apply to the whole island.