US-Based Samoan Woman Visiting Family Faces Defamation Charges in District Court

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From the files of #FaaSamoa. An American-based woman who travelled home to visit her family in Samoa when borders re-opened appeared in the District Court on Tuesday morning, charged with defamation following a police complaint filed by the ruling Faatuatua i Le Atua Samoa ua Tasi party secretary.

Feagiai Headle appeared in the District Court on Tuesday morning accused of making false statements against the Prime Minister and members of the FAST government.

According to FAST Party Secretary Vaaaoao Alofipo, the resident of Salt Lake City, Utah “has defamed the Government, the Prime Minister, and some members of Cabinet..”

Vaaaoao Alofipo, Secretary, Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi.

Vaaaoao was addressing the local media outside Court in September, immediately after the dismissal of defamation charges against an Australian-based broadcaster Tiumalumatua Maifea Fetu, also filed by the FAST party secretary.

“Perhaps this is a good lesson for anyone who commits this crime, of saying things that defame others,” Vaaaoao told media.

“Atonu e fai lea ma lesona lelei mo soo se tasi na te faia lea ituaiga soligatulafono, o le faia lea o ni faamatalaga e tauleagaina ai soo se isi.”

“This can be a good lesson for anyone who commits this crime of saying things that defame others.”

In the District Court on Tuesday morning Prosecution indicated they intended to bring at least 25 charges against Ms Headle, but then s.ought two weeks to finalise charges.

Feagiai was arrested and charged by Police four weeks ago, and Defense Counsel Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio strongly objected to the extended time period.

Faimalomatumua said one week should suffice to finalise charges against his client since Prosecution has already had enough time to prepare.

The Court agreed and the matter will be recalled next Tuesday.

Ms Feagiai Headle will continue to abide by bail conditions of reporting weekly to Faleolo Police Outpost, and ensure all travel documents are handed in.