The Samoa Observer Newspaper has filed a statement of defense against a $700,000 lawsuit brought by former E.F.K.S Reverend Opapo Soanai Oeti and his daughter, Toaipuapuaga Patrick.
The matter was called before the Supreme Court yesterday.
The Samoa Observer is represented by Su’a Helene Wallwork, of Wallwork Lamb Lawyers.
Mr. Oeti and his daughter are represented by Muriel Lui and Mauga Precious Chang.
The lawsuit targets the publication by the Samoa Observer of a letter to the editor titled “Stop this madness” by “M.R” in the Samoa Observer’s edition of 29 March 2017.
According to the statement of claim, the plaintiffs claim that the letter is defamatory.
As a result, they are asking for general damages of $400,000, aggravated damages of $200,000, punitive damages of $100,000 and costs.
The letter in question was an online comment, in response to a story titled ”Church stigmata row deepens.”
The letter was also the subject of a search warrant by the Police served on the Samoa Observer.
The Samoa Observer’s statement of defense strongly denies the allegations made by the plaintiff’s statement of claim.
Since Easter in 2015, Toaipuapuaga Patrick, has maintained she is carrying the marks of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, also commonly referred to as the stigmata.