SAMOA VILLAGE ELDERS LIFT FAMILY’S BANISHMENT

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Families of murder suspects allowed to return

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Aug. 25, 2008) - The matai council of Leauva’a village in Samoa has overturned the banishment of the families of the four men from the same village recently charged by police with first degree murder.

This was after the alleged murder of another man from the same village following a Lands and Titles court ruling over a land dispute.

The defence counsel representing the accused has entered a not guilty plea and told the court the village council has decided to overturn the original decision after a reconciliation process.

The men have now been released on bail to await trial in March next year.

They have been ordered by chief justice, Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu, not to reside again in the village and not to make any attempt to contact police witnesses.

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