18 August 1999


Samoan court stops reporting of murder "confession"

Incident details

legal action

(PINA/IFEX) - On 16 August 1999, all Samoan news media were delivered copies
of an injunction ordering them not to publish, broadcast or distribute a
police statement allegedly given by a man convicted of killing a Samoan
Cabinet minister. Justice Andrew Wilson, of the Supreme Court, issued the
interim injunction following an application by Samoa's Attorney-General,
Brenda Heather.

The statement is believed to be the confession to the murder of Samoa's
Public Works Minister Luagalau Levaula Kamu. It was obtained by Television
New Zealand and broadcast in New Zealand.

The father of the man who pleaded guilty to the killing and has been
sentenced to death is one of two parliamentarians and former government
ministers who are also charged over the killing. Their case has yet to be
heard in Samoa's Supreme Court.

The judge's injunction even bans reference to the existence or contents of
the statement in e-mail. It also covers the distribution of "any overseas
publication or broadcast which contains: (i) extracts from the said
statement; (ii) references to the said statement; in either the English or
Samoan language."

According to PINA members in Samoa, this will affect Samoan language
newspapers printed in New Zealand and distributed widely in Samoa and also
English-language New Zealand papers sold in Samoa. They include "Samoana",
"Samoa Post", "Tautua Samoa", "Sunday Star-Times" and "New Zealand Herald".
It could also affect Samoan radio stations rebroadcasting news from Radio
New Zealand International.


Pacific Islands News Association
Level 2, 46 Gordon Street, Damodar Centre
Private Mail Bag, Suva
Fiji Islands
pina (@) connect.com.fj
Fax:+679 3317055
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