Samoan assassination plot accused plead not guilty

Two men charged with conspiracy to assassinate Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, have pleaded not guilty to the crime.

The pair, Malele Atofu Paulo, also known as King Faipopo, and Lema'i Faioso Sione, are also facing a second charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

The two have been ordered to remain in custody until next Monday when they will appear for a plea hearing on the second charge.

The prosecution has opposed bail.

Meanwhile a third suspect, Taualai Leiloa, also known as Taualai Tuila'epa, has appeared separately on the same charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

He was denied the opportunity to enter a plea as the presiding judge, Justice Leiataualesa Darrel Clarke, said he must seek legal representation because of the seriousness of the charge.

Leiloa will appear again next Monday.