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Harsher sex crime penalties now in force in Samoa

The new crimes act in Samoa, which introduces harsher penalties for most sexual offences, comes into force this week.The Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai, says the Crimes Act 2013 is an updated version of the crimes ordinance, which is over 50 years old and was missing a lot of new offences.He says voyeurism is a new offence created under the act, and new cyber-crime offence provisions have been included as well as prohibiting the distribution of indecent material using mobile phones.Aumua says it’s hoped increased penalties for sexual offences will work as a deterrent. “For rape, it has always been life imprisonment as the maximum, so that has remained, incest for example used to be seven years, but come the first of May this year it will increase to 20 years maximum imprisonment term, we also have attempted rape that has also increased as well from 10 years to 14 years.”The Samoa Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai.