7 Oct 2008

New Zealand born Samoan lawyer upset by treatment by Samoan police officers

11:09 am on 7 October 2008

A New Zealand born Samoan lawyer says the intimidating actions of police in Apia towards her and her mother has raised serious concerns.

Annette Woodroffe says she feared for her life after five big plain clothes policemen came to her house without proper identification or a warrant, demanding to talk.

Police were investigating allegations of insults made by her mother Leulua'ialii Olinda Woodroffe against several Ministry of Justice staff, and alleged police obstruction.

Annette Woodroffe says police never laid formal charges and she and her mother sought refuge and help from the New Zealand High Commissioner.

She says she fears how this type of police conduct affects ordinary citizens.

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What is also of concern to us, is that if the police in Samoa are acting in this way towards lawyers who can stand up for themselves and who do know their rights, it is concerning to think about what may be happening to other people in Samoa who don't have the same ability to stand up for themselves. And this is something we will want to look into further. 27

Annette Woodroffe .