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Samoan chief guilty of all but one human-traffic charges

New Zealand trial judgement on trafficking people and 'dealing in slaves'

In a New Zealand trial, a man accused of human trafficking and slavery charges has been found guilty of all but one charge.

Facing 11 charges of trafficking people and 13 charges of dealing in slaves, Joseph Matamata, 65, was on trial before a jury in the High Court at Napier. The alleged offending occurred between late 1994 and April last year and involved 13 victims.

Applesandpears.nz reports that he was found not guilty on one trafficking charge, but guilty of the remaining 23 charges. The jury retired on Monday evening, after listening to Justice Helen Cull's summing up of the trial of Samoan chief Matamata.

They had made a decision by Tuesday afternoon; a decision that took about seven-and-a-half hours. Flanked by two court security staff Matamata remained silent while the verdicts were being read. He gave a brief wave to silent family members as he was lead from the courtroom. Matamata has been remanded in custody for sentencing which will take place on May 6.


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