19 Aug 2008

Samoan church minister on bail after court appearance on sex charge

3:34 pm on 19 August 2008

The 61-year-old church minister of the Congregational Christian Church in Samoa, Lealofi Oto, has entered a not guilty plea to one count of attempted rape and one of indecently assaulting a 17-year-old girl.

The accused appeared in the Supreme Court for the second time since the police arrested him two weeks ago.

The church minister who is banned from Sa'anapu village as a result of the alleged offences has now been released on bail until March 2009 where his trial will begin.

Meanwhile, church and family members of the accused outside the court have tried to stop a local TV cameraman from filming the accused.

A woman with a rock approached the camera man but police officers intervened.