Police charged overseas radio announcer for defamation


An Australia-based Samoan radio announcer, Tiumalumatua Lasei was arrested and charged on Saturday by Police for defamation, in relation to “derogatory” claims against how the FAST took office.

This was confirmed by Commissioner of Police, Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo in response to questions from Radio Polynesia today.

“I can confirm the accused was arrested and charged, over alleged derogatory public remarks against how the current Government took office.

“The accused has been released out on bail hours after being charged, however, there are conditions of bail, including surrendering his travel documents,” said Auapa’au.

He is charged under PART 9A of the CRIMES AGAINST A PERSON’S REPUTATION specifically section 117A.

False statement causing harm to a person’s reputation – (1) A person commits an offence who publishes by any means information:

(a) about another person; (b) that is false;

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(c) with the intention to cause harm to that person’s reputation.

(2) It is a defence under this section if the information published is true.

(3) A person who commits a crime under this section is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 175 penalty units or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months.

Auapa’au said the criminal charges follow a complaint lodged by Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi party Secretary, Va’aaoao Salu Alofipo last week.

The complaint cited talk shows on “SAMOA TOE FAAOLAOLA-Samoa Come Alive-the Beat of Samoa” on Facebook.

Auapa’au further explained there is a possibility of additional charges as Police investigations are continuing. The Police Commissioner also used the opportunity to remind the media practitioners that freedom of speech does not allow anyone to defame another person, under the law.

“You have your freedom of speech but also you have to speak the truth and not make accusations to ruin another person’s reputation,” he said.