27 Mar 2015

Samoa govt media figure denies court charges

11:27 am on 27 March 2015

The suspended Samoa government newspaper editor, Tupuola Terry Tavita, has vehemently denied in court two charges of indecent assault, as well as charges of common assault and insulting words.

Samoa's old fono with the court building in the background.

Samoa's old fono with the court building in the background. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Tupuola made the denial when he took the stand to give evidence in support of his innocence.

However in cross examination, Tupuola admitted the victim did not give him consent to touch her leg while they were in a car heading to cover a news story at Mulifanua last December.

He told the court that he joked with the complainant who is a journalism student at the National University of Samoa.

But the victim in her evidence said the defendant had stalked her for a sexual relationship. She also said he had touched and caressed her leg.

The second incident by Tupuola against the victim occurred when both covered a traditional bestowal of a chiefly matai title at A'ufaga village.

The trial has been adjourned to next Wednesday for the prosecution and defence counsel to present final submissions.