19 Dec 2018

Samoa police look to crack down on courtroom footage

1:26 pm on 19 December 2018

Samoa police are investigating the latest in an increasing number of cases where illegal footage is being taken during court proceedings.

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Photo: 123RF

The latest incident occurred when a video of bail proceedings for one of the accused in the death of an MP's son was posted on social media.

According to Talamua Online, the Ministry of Justice has laid a complaint with police who are looking for the person and charges are expected to follow.

Filming and photography of court proceedings is prohibited, but last week a 'live' video was posted during the hearing of the bail application by Herman Westerlund.

In a separate case a photo was also taken during the proceedings of the first appearance of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa ministers charged with failing to file tax returns.

The photo of the ministers standing in the witness stand went viral and was used by media.

In recent months some local media outlets have also published photos of court proceedings but have not been investigated.

In the past it has generally been left to the presiding judge to decide on the matter.

One occasion where it was allowed was the trial of two former MPs charged with the assassination of a cabinet minister in 1999.

It was decided that because of the huge public interest in the case, television could broadcast the proceedings live.