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Murder accused to be tried in High Court

A MAN accused of killing a member of the Melanesian Brotherhood in north-west Guadalcanal last year has been committed to stand trial at the High Court.

The decision followed a short form preliminary inquiry conducted on the case of Francis Au yesterday after he entered a not guilty plea to the murder charge against him.

Au was accused of the gruesome murder of Novice Jackson Lodo on 29 October 2014.

Novice Lodo, from Masi village, east Guadalcanal, and a colleague were returning to their centre at Tabalia from Honiara when he met his fate between 10pm and 11pm that day.

His colleague survived the attack.

Police alleged Au attacked Lodo while he and his companion, a third year novice, were walking home along the Tamboko road.

It was alleged the pair were taking a rest on the way to light their home-made tobacco when the accused and two other men approached them.

Police alleged while the two men stood at the back, Au came forward and told the two novices that he is the “criminal” in the area.

He asked them where they are going and the two novices told the accused that they are going to Tabalia and that they are novices.

It was alleged Au told the two novices that he will kill them even though they are novices and thinking that he made a joke, the deceased’s companion laughed.

Police alleged that the accused then stepped forward and started attacking the deceased.

The deceased’s companion fled the scene.

The court has two charges against Au, one of which is an intimidation charge in relation to the deceased’s companion.

But the defence counsel does not have a copy of that charge.

Public Prosecutor Jasper Anisi, who stood on instructions of his colleague Margaret Suifa’asia,said he has no instructions in relation to that intimidation charge

He however, said he will make sure his colleague is aware of the charge.

Maelyn Bird of Emerald Lawyers is representing the Au.

By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN