29 Feb 2020

DNA evidence destroyed in American Samoa

12:26 pm on 29 February 2020

Prosecutors in American Samoa are proceeding with the trial of a man accused of sexual abuse, despite the main evidence, a DNA sample, being destroyed.

High Court in Fagatogo, American Samoa

High Court in Fagatogo, American Samoa. Photo: noaa

Samoa News reported that assistant attorney general Laura Garvey told the High Court the government was moving forward with its case against Faavae Solomona even without what could have been the strongest piece of evidence.

The case began last month with the court granting prosecutors a two-week continuance to finalise their investigation, particularly results from the DNA test.

However Ms Garvey told the court this week that when police officers went to the territory's hospital they were informed the sample had been destroyed.

The court noted there was "one piece of evidence less for the government" but was assured there was other evidence available to move forward with the trial.

Mr Solomona is charged with sexual abuse in the first degree and endangering the welfare of a child.

The government alleges in June 2018, the defendant sexually abused a 14-year-old girl.

Mr Solomona remains in custody, unable to post a $25,000 surety bond, with the trial set to begin in March.