In Court with Assumpta Buchanan - Solomon Star News

In Court with Assumpta Buchanan

10 January 2018

* Beche-de-mer case mentioned in court
* Manelusi back in court today
* Court sets to rule on no-case to answer bid
* Pre-trial hearing for accused

Beche-de-mer case mentioned in court

THE case of the three Chinese businessmen who were accused of harvesting beche-de-mer during the ban period last year was mentioned on Tuesday.

This is only for an interim mention and the three accused, Tonghzi Zangs, Qiang Xu and Fank Shengsong are not required to attend.

Their next court date is on February 22.

That is when they are all required to attend.

Chief Magistrate Emma Garo after mentioning the matter yesterday further adjourned it to the next court date.

The three accused are facing one counts each of artisanal fishing in indirect association with a registered company without valid and applicable license contrary to section 43(1) (a) (c) Fisheries Management Act 2015, Buy or otherwise trade in Fish taken in contravention of the Act contrary to section 27(1) Fisheries Management Act 2015, Engage in activities relating to fish processing for the purposes of export without valid and applicable license contrary to section 44(1)(a) as read with section 44(1)(b) and (c) Fisheries Management Act 2015 and : cause or permit a person acting on his behalf to engage in activities of such a kind or type, at a time for which a valid license or authorization is required contrary to section 56(1) (a) as read with (b) Fisheries Management Act 2015.

Prosecution alleged they colluded with the people in Lord Howe, Malaita Outer Islands, during the ban period in August this year to harvest beche-de-mer.

The three accused allegedly supplied petrol, harvesting equipment, and rations to the divers.

The ban was lifted in October last year and the trio were issued with their licenses for export on 1 September 2017.

Manelusi back in court, Wednesday

THE son of a senior cop, who allegedly crashed a police vehicle in November last year into a tree at the road side at the King George school area, will appear again in court today.

On suspension police constable Moffat Manelusi faces charges of reckless and dangerous driving and careless driving in relation to the incident on 10 November.

Prosecution on the last occasion was told to sort out issues regarding these charges.

One of those charges was under the Traffic Act while the other was under the Road Transport Act.

Chief Magistrate Emma Garo questioned prosecution as to why those charges were under those two Acts and also stated that the Road Transport Act only deals with registration of vehicles and licensing.

Moffat, son of Deputy Commissioner Operations, Gabriel Manelusi, is also suspended from the force following this incident and another allegation that he misused an official police vehicle for a drinking spree in September last year.

Court sets to rule on no-case to answer bid

THE court will be handing down its ruling on a no case to answer submissions in relation to a traffic incident that resulted in the death of a man on 23 January 2011.

Principal Magistrate Tearo Beneteti confirmed the date for the ruling yesterday when mentioning Robert Pepeo’s case.

Pepeo has gone through a trial for one count of causing death by reckless and dangerous driving.

This is in relation to an incident on 2 August 2011 at Kukum Highway in Honiara.

Prosecution alleged Pepeo was driving at a high speed and collided with a car at the Kukum Highway road, opposite the Didao Fuel station, at around 7pm killing the driver of the car.

Pepeo’s lawyer has made a no case to answer submission at the end of the prosecution case last year.

Ms Beneteti, who has been on a break had just resumed work, which is why she had just set down a date for the ruling.

Pepeo and his lawyer Clifton Ruele from the Public Solicitor’s Office did not appear in court yesterday.

Ms Beneteti also made an order for prosecution to summon Pepeo to appear in court on the next court date.

Public Prosecutor Elma Rizzu appeared yesterday for this matter on behalf of her colleague Patrick Rajah Abe.

Pre-trial hearing for accused

A PRE-TRIAL conference will be conducted today on the case of the two men accused of breaking into a store at Kouvare, West Guadalcanal, days after they escaped from lawful custody last year.

Frank Firimolea, Eric Nathaniel Junior and their alleged associate Robert Hayward have pleaded not guilty to the charge of store break-in on the last court appearance.

Their matter is now listed for a pre-trial conference before Chief Magistrate Emma Garo at 2pm today.

The two escapees with two other accused namely Eddie Funubana and Silas Kwaota were brought to the Honiara Magistrates Court on 18 October 2017 for remand after being charged in connection to an armed robbery at Panatina Ridge, East Honiara on 13 October 2017.

They were all formally remanded in custody but while waiting to be transported down to the Rove Correctional Centre, Firimolea and Nathaniel Jr however escaped.

Only Funubana and Kwaota were taken back to the Rove Correctional Centre on that day.

Police recaptured Nathaniel at the Blue Flag beach, northwest Guadalcanal on the morning of 30 October, 2017 while Firimolea was recaptured inside a vehicle at White River 02 bus stop on the afternoon of that same day.

Firimolea and Nathaniel allegedly broke into the shop at Kauvare on 29 October 2017, whilst they were in hiding, 11 days after they allegedly escaped from lawful custody.

Prosecution alleged that on 28 October 2017, Firimolea and Nathaniel arrived at Hayward’s house at Kauvare.

According to the allegation, Hayward allegedly showed Firimolea and Nathaniel the Complainant’s store.

Prosecution also alleged Hayward supplied pliers and a screw driver to the two accused and then allegedly advised them to climb on top of the store.

He also allegedly explained the set up inside the store to the two accused.

At 3am, Firimolea and Nathaniel Jr allegedly broke and entered the store run by the Complainant Kabir Hussein and stole $50,000 cash, two carton of Pall Mall cigarette and one carton of Solbako.

They allegedly gave one cartoon of cigarette to Hayward.

Hubert Fugui of HOF Law Chambers represents Hayward while Public Solicitor’s Lawyer Cathy Hite appears for Firimolea and Nathaniel Jr.

Firimolea and Nathaniel Jr are also facing two separate matters that are before the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.

Nathaniel faces one count of armed robbery and unlawful wounding in relation to an incident outside the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) at Point Cruz early last year.

He and Ben Farobo, David Faiga, Stanley Ramo, and Richard Rurai allegedly robbed $1million from two Asians outside of the Bank.

This matter is waiting for a committal hearing to be made in the Honiara Magistrates Court.

This is to have this matter committed to the High Court for trial.

Firimolea is jointly charged with Lawrence Liliva, Fred Taebo Dara and a 15 year-old juvenile for the initial robbery allegations that were said to have occurred in Honiara in May and June in 2015.

This matter is pending trial in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.