In Court with Assumpta Buchanan - Solomon Star News

In Court with Assumpta Buchanan

06 September 2019

* Officer jailed for bribery
* Police questioned on delay of case
* Submission on armed robbery case

Officer jailed for bribery

THE on-suspension police officer, who accepted a $200 bribe from bus driver and his conductor back in 2015, has been sentenced to six months imprisonment.

Nelson Isogeto was convicted of one count of accepting bribe after a trial in 2017.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Ricky Iomea having considered the facts of the case, circumstances of the accused and the need for deterrence imposed a six month imprisonment term.

“I do not think there is any special circumstance for which the sentence should be partially or entirely suspended,” Mr Iomea said when sentencing Isogeto.

Isogeto had filed an appeal following his conviction in 2017 in the High Court.

A High Court judge however was of the view to have the matter remitted and completed with the sentencing at Magistrates’ Court before an appeal can be filed in the High Court.

The judge then made an order for the remittal of this matter back to the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.

Isogeto was charged in relation to the incident that occurred at a refuelling station in Honiara in 2015.

The bus driver and his conductor gave Isogeto $200 when Isogeto approached them and inquired about a defective rear park light of the bus.

After being given $200, the accused did not press charges against the bus driver and his conductor.

Public Solicitor’s lawyer Rodney Manebosa represented Isogeto while Public Prosecutor Margaret Suifa’asia appeared for the Crown.


Police questioned on delay of case


A MAGISTRATE has expressed her frustrations in the delay of police investigation into two serious matters before the court.

This was after prosecution informed the court they are yet to obtain statements from witnesses and photographs of the crime scene.

One of the matters is that of PeterKukiti, who faces one count of murder in relation to an incident on 7 July this year at Lungga area, east of Honiara.

According to the prosecution, police are yet to obtain three statements and are yet to print out photographs of the crime scene.

Public Prosecutor John Wesley Zoze told the court at that time that police are trying to get the three witnesses over from Kwaio, Malaita to get their statements.

He said the witnesses had travelled to Kwaio with the deceased’s body and are yet to return.

In relation to the photographs, Zoze said police are yet to print them out.

Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi questioned the prosecutor as to why those photographs are yet to be printed given that the incident occurred on July 7.

She said if the incident occurred at that time, then photographs should be taken two or three days later.

When asked why those photographs were not yet printed, Zoze said he cannot assist court on that and that they had just received the file.

Taeburi having adjourned the matter to September 12 for plea, then made orders for the prosecution to tell the investigators to complete their investigations within a week.

“That includes printing out of photographs in this case and obtains statements in Kwaio,” Taeburi ordered.

“There is a police station in Kwaio, Afio.

“It should not be difficult to locate witnesses and obtain statements from them.”

Taeburi also ordered prosecution to serve full disclosures to the accused’s lawyer by September 6, which is tomorrow.

The alleged incident occurred on 7 July, 2019 at Lungga.

Police alleged that the deceased was allegedly involved in a stealing incident in the area and that a fight then broke out between Kukiti and the deceased on the night of July 6.

It was further alleged that the deceased sustained injuries and lost blood.

Unfortunately, he died after he was transported was transported to the National Referral Hospital.

The second matter relates to a rape matter that also alleged to have been occurred on 19 July 2019.

In this matter, prosecution are yet to obtain the photographs of the crime scene from the police.

Taeburi said photographs in this matter should be obtained by 20 and 21 July.

“So that means police have the photos with them for more than a month.”

She added that photographs of crime scenes should be obtained the next day when evidences are still fresh.

This matter was also further adjourned to allow prosecution to obtain the photographs.


Submission on armed robbery case

Submissions on whether or not an armed robbery matter will be committed to the High Court for trial will made in court, on September 12.

Eddie Funubana, Stanley Ramo, Willie Gua and Jimmy Diodio are jointly charged with one count of armed robbery.

This is in relation to an allegation on 11 June 2019, in Honiara where the men were accused of robbing an Asian while armed with a bush knife.

Gua had already entered a not guilty plea to the allegation while the rest are yet to take their pleas.

Funubana and Diodio will be entering their pleas on September 12.

Ramo is still without a lawyer and the Public Solicitor’s Office has been ordered to allocate one for him.

Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi said Ramo made his request for a lawyer last month.

She said if no lawyer is allocated on the next court date, a lawyer from the PSO is to explain fully to the court reasons for the delay.

“If delay in allocating a lawyer goes on for few more months, I will summon the practice manager to come to court. 

“Tell him to send lawyer with full instructions.”

In relation to the submissions, Ms Taeburi said according to a ruling in the High Court, in cases of armed robbery the court must assess the circumstances of the offending and of the defendant.

She said if the antecedents of the defendant is tendered in court and it appears that this is an accused that needs to be sent to the High court for sentencing and trial then the matter will be committed.

Ms Taeburi added that the orders of Court of Appeal (COA) were made in relation to the robbery on banks, the robbery at Bank of South Pacific (BSP) at the former Westpac bank.

“So in terms of the seriousness of the offence, that is why I need to look at the facts.”

She said counsels will address the issue with submissions on section 208 of Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and the orders made in COA in relation to an armed robbery.

This is on whether this case should be committee to the High Court or should be heard at the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.