13 Oct 2008

Samoa's PM rejects call to scrap charges against NZ lawyer

6:37 am on 13 October 2008

The request from a New Zealand based Samoan lawyer, Leulua'ialii Olinda Woodroffe, to withdraw any criminal charges laid against her by the police in Samoa has been rejected by the Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, and the Minister of Justice, Unasa Mesi Galo.

The prime minister says Leulua'ialii should have not runaway from the

country but stayed to deal with the alleged offences in court.

Tuila'epa's response comes after he received a written request from

Leulua'ialii Olinda Woodroffe, last week to withdraw the charges including a call for the government to conduct an independent inquiry into the behavior of the police and staff of the Ministry of Justice.

A commission of inquiry according to the prime minister can only make

recommendations unlike the court which has the power to convict or dismiss criminal charges.