In Court with Assumpta Buchanan - Solomon Star News

In Court with Assumpta Buchanan

25 April 2019

* Ruling, Monday, on murder committal
* Trio to plea today

Ruling, Monday, on murder committal
RULING on a committal matter of the man accused of the murder of a10-year-old girl at Tikopia last year is likely to be handed down Monday next week.

Chief Magistrate Emma Garo was supposed to hand down her ruling on the matter of Harrison Forau yesterday.

However, that was not done due to the disturbances that occurred yesterday after the election of Manasseh Sogavare.

A short form preliminary inquiry was conducted on the matter of Harrison Forau after prosecution confirmed they will proceed with the murder case.

Prosecution was given time on a previous occasion to further review the evidence.

This is to decide if they will continue with the matter to its committal stage or withdraw the charge and return the matter for further investigation.

This follows the result of the DNA sample collected from the alleged victim, which shows she was not sexually assaulted before she died.

Forau is facing the murder charge in relation to an alleged incident at Namo Village on Tikopia Island on 4 October last year.

The alleged incident was said to have occurred during a community function at that time.

The body of the alleged victim was found floating in the nearby Lake Teroto.

Public Solicitor’s lawyer Benham Ifuto’o represents Forau while the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ronald Bei Talasasa is prosecuting.

Trio to plea today

THREE former provincial government officials facing corruption charges are expected to enter their pleas today.

Former acting Provincial Secretary, Samuel Kafukese is facing charges of abuse of office and official corruption.

The former premier Baddley Tau Soakifono faces two counts of corrupt practices while the former Minister for Natural Resources of Temotu Province Charles Brown Beuis being charged with three counts of corrupt practices.

Their matter was mentioned in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court last month and adjourned to today for plea.

At that time, they were excused from attending court and their case files were still in Lata.

Their files are now with Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and they are required to attend court today.

The reason for having this matter transferred to Honiara is that the magistrate in Lata does not have the jurisdiction to deal with this case.

Private lawyers representing the accused are also based in Honiara and therefore it is proper to have the matte heard in Honiara.

The trio are charged in relation to an allegation in December 2018 for allegedly accepting corrupt payments.

They allegedly committed the offences when they were the Premier, acting Provincial Secretary and the Minister for Natural Resources for the Temotu Provincial Government.

Police alleged the trio improperly accepted inducements or payments for considerations or decisions in their official capacity, which resulted in the corrupt transfer of Grant of Profit and Acquisition of Timber Rights to a logging company.

They allegedly received up to $200,000 worth of allowances, transport and accommodation.

Private Lawyer Donald Marahare had previously appeared in court for the accused.