In Court with Assumpta Buchanan - Solomon Star News

In Court with Assumpta Buchanan

07 August 2019

Riot case back to court

Riot case back to court

A RIOT matter that has insufficient evidence to sustain the riot offences against six men will be brought before the court again this afternoon.

Magistrate Ishmael Kekou said he wants to know the reason as to why this matter has to be transferred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions from the Police Prosecution.

Police Prosecutor Henry Oneone told the magistrate that he was advised by his superiors that all riot matters including this one will be transferred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Kekou however questioned Mr Oneone as to why this matter had to be transferred when it is clear there is insufficient evidence to proceed with this matter.

He said police prosecution have the power to have this matter withdrawn under the Criminal Procedure Code.

Mr Oneone said he had already spoken to his superiors about whether the charges can be withdrawn and charges reinstated then they collected evidence but was told the matter will have to be sent to the ODPP.

The same issue was raised last week by Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi when this matter was brought before her.

Ms Taeburi said the police prosecution superiors should allocate all riot matters to experienced prosecutors to assess the evidence on the cases.

She added that there is no need to transfer the matter to the ODPP as the ODPP already has a lot of files to deal with.

She then adjourned the matter to yesterday for plea and pre-trial conference.

Mr Kekou however yesterday moved the matter again for a prosecutor from the ODPP to assist Mr Oneone and give him a reason for the transfer.

He said he will set a trial date for this matter if he is not convinced.

The six men including two juveniles aged 16 are facing charges of riot and unlawful assembly.

Two of them are under warrant of arrest while the rest appeared in the closed court hearing yesterday.

One of the juveniles, a form one student appeared yesterday in his school uniform.

It is of this reason that this matter will be brought to court this afternoon to when the student is finished from his class.

The accused were allegedly part of a group of men who threw rocks and took part in a riot at Fijian Quarter area in China town, Honiara on April 24.

This was after the election of the prime minister on April 24 when a small group of people in Honiara took to the streets to cause violence. 

During the riot, shops were looted including the Pacific Casino Hotel, vehicles were damaged and road blocks were mounted.

A number of Police Officers, Correctional Service officers and Civilians were injured during the various clashes in Honiara at that time.

The Public Solicitor’s Office is representing all accused. 


Sentencing on Backhoe case deferred


Sentencing submission and mitigation for a man who caused damages to the Coral Sea Resort in Honiara using a backhoe excavator last October has been deferred to August 20.

This was because the defence and the prosecution are yet to sort out the agreed facts on the matter of Dickson Irofinao.

Irofinao had previously pleaded guilty to intimidation and one count of wilful & unlawful damage.

He was initially charged with 10 counts of intimidation and one count of wilful & unlawful damage but was reduced after a plea bargain.

The charges were in relation to the incident on the afternoon of 11 October 2018, at the Coral Sea Resort in Honiara.

Police said Irofinao drove a backhoe excavator straight into the hotel lobby following an argument with his wife.

His wife is an employee at the Coral Sea Resort at the time of offending.

He then drove the excavator out of the hotel and later that same afternoon surrendered himself to the police.

Ron Dickey Pulekera of Public Solicitor’s Office is representing Irofinao.