17 July, 2017. Samoa – A brother and sister charged with incest, were the subject of a hearing at the Supreme Court this morning. There is a 6 year age gap between the pair with the man in question being older than the young woman who is still a teenager.
The pair were the subject of a police investigation as a result of incest allegations filed against them last month. They were reported to police by the pastor at their church.
The complaint was filed at the Vaito’omuli Police Post, Palauli in Savaii.
When questioned by Chief Justice, His Honor, Patu Tiavasu’e Falefatu Sapolu, both defendants said they did not require a lawyer.
The 24yr old man from Satufia, Satupaitea, pleaded guilty to two charges of incest with his younger sister, aged 18.
The young woman also pleaded guilty to two counts of incest, with her older brother.
The two incidents mentioned in court were said to have occurred between the 1st of February and the 2nd of June 2017.
It is unclear if those dates are when the alleged sexual relationship first started.
The mother of the defendants stood up during the court proceeding, asking Chief Justice Sapolu for a lawyer for her children.
Chief Justice Sapolu replied “I have already asked your son if he wanted a lawyer, he declined a lawyer.”
The mother then pleaded with the judge for leniency to allow legal counsel for the pair.
Chief Justice Sapolu then asked both defendants a second time if either wanted a lawyer.
The man said yes he wanted a lawyer, but again the young woman declined. She was in tears as the judge made his final statement.
Chief Justice Sapolu adjourned the final sentencing. The man is set to appear in court with a lawyer on the 31st of July.
The young woman will appear on the 21st August 2017 before Justice Leilani Tuala-Warren, as the court prepares the final report.
In a separate case, a 24-year old man and a 34-year old woman appeared in court before Chief Justice his Honor, Patu Tiavasu’e Falefatu Sapolu, also charged with incest. The pair are half-siblings and share the same father.
The woman, from Falefa, is married with four young children. The man is from Falefa and Solosolo. It was not stated whether they were raised together as siblings or how long they had known each other.
The pair were reported to Police by the woman’s’ husband, for alleged incestuous acts that supposedly happened between them from 1st April to the 28th June 2017. It was not stated how long the woman and her husband have been married.
The prosecution charged each of them with two counts of incest.
Both defendants denied a lawyer, when asked by Chief Jusice Sapolu. During the hearing, both defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ before the court.
The hearing was then adjourned until the 24th July 2017, by request of the prosecution, to finalize charges.
Bail was denied for the defendants. The half-siblings are both in Police custody.
According to the Samoa Crimes Ordinance Act, sexual connection is incest if, “it is between 2 persons whose relationship is that of parent and child, siblings, half-siblings, or grandparent and grandchild; and the person charged knows of the relationship.”
“child” includes an illegitimate child or an adopted child; and “grandchild” has a corresponding meaning.”
The Act states that a person who is or over the age of 16 years who commits incest
is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years.
Reporter with Samoa Planet.