14 Aug 2008

Matais in Samoa accused of burning judge's home

6:43 pm on 14 August 2008

Five high ranking matais of Falelatai village in Samoa are standing trial in the Supreme Court in relation to the burning down of a family home in 2005.

The matais, and one taule'ale'a or untitled man, are facing charges of arson, obstruction of justice, threatening words and throwing stones.

They are alleged to have burnt the house of a judge of the Lands and Title's court, Misa Pita Anae, who is also a high ranking chief of the same village.

The incident occurred after the Lands and Titles court had ruled against the decision by the village to banish the high ranking chief who had differences with the village council.

The defendants claim that the village had agreed in a meeting in 2005 to burn the judge's house.