16 Jul 2007

Samoa victim support group questions prisoner release scheme

8:39 am on 16 July 2007

The Samoa victim support group or SVSG has voiced concerns over the release from prison of a convicted killer to staywith and work for a senior police officer.

The practice is lawful under the Police and Prisons act with the Commissioner of police using his authority to release prisoners to stay with several senior police officers or government officials to help rehabilitate their lives after being found guilty of various crimes.

But the SVSG says the police rehabilitation of prisoners must be reviewed as prisoners who are convicted of serious offences should serve their sentence within the prison because of the nature of their crimes.

The move comes after the Police were accused of allowing a convicted murderer, jailed for life just three months ago, to serve his sentence outside jail at the home of a police superintendent and his family.

The sister of the murder victim, Rhonda Anderson, says the man, who killed her brother during a domestic dispute, is obliged to serve out his sentence in Tafa'igata prison and not work for a senior police officer.

The SVSG is to seek an opinion on the matter from the country's Chief Justice.