31 Jan 2011

Nine chiefs in Samoa warned they face jail if they defy court orders again

11:22 am on 31 January 2011

A judge in Samoa has warned nine matai or chiefs from Solosolo-uta that if they disobey court orders again, they will be jailed.

The nine faced contempt of Court charges for ignoring a ruling delivered by the Land and Titles Court in 2009.

It involves a former Speaker of Parliament, Leota Ituau Ale, who was fined last year for contempt of Court.

Leota and the nine matai were accused of defying a Land and Titles Court order to stop operating their sub-village.

Despite the order, Leota's sub-village group carried out a taro harvesting , title investiture and welcoming for new church pastors.

The matai were convicted and discharged.

Judge Vaepule Alo Vaai told the defendants that Court decisions must be taken seriously.

He said matai of their age should know better and they should be at the forefront of more peaceful solutions to village differences.

Judge Vaepule warned the chiefs that if they appeared again before the court in relation to the same matter, they will be imprisoned.