In Court with Assumpta Buchanan - Solomon Star News

In Court with Assumpta Buchanan

11 September 2019

* Taremae’s trial starts today
* Men facing riot charges on bail

Taremae’s trial starts today

Trial will start today on the case of the former Member of Parliament for Makira/Ulawa accused of misusing more than $200,000 funds intended for his constituents in 2012 and 2013.

Hypolite Taremae is standing trial for two counts of conversion.

A voir dire trial (trial within a trial) was also conducted early this week in relation to admission made during the record of interview with police in Kirakira in 2017.

Taremae challenged his admission on grounds, he was not properly cautioned by police during the interview, he was not given the opportunity to talk to a lawyer and that police used pre-typed questions, making it difficult to record follow up questions during the actual interview.

Prosecution called the interviewing police officer and the witnessing officer who testified in court under oath.

They both confirmed that Taremae was properly cautioned and that he understood the caution. 

They said Taremae was also given the opportunity to speak to a lawyer or anyone. 

The officers denied the allegation by defendant that he was told to answer some parts and remain silent on some parts.

Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi in her ruling yesterday said she was satisfied that the record of interview was conducted fairly.

She then exercised her discretion and admitted the record of interview to be part of prosecution’s evidence in the trial.

About 41 prosecution witnesses have been intended for the trial proper but that is subject to discussions between the prosecution and the defence counsel.

The trial was supposed to start yesterday but was further adjourned to today.

This to give time for the agreed facts, list of witnesses and some statements that will be tendered by consent to be finalised first.

Prosecution alleged that on two separate occasions in 2012 and 2013, he allegedly misappropriated more than $200,000 of the reforestation and out growers’ funds.

That was when he was the MP for the Central Makira Constituency.

It was alleged that instead of disbursing the funds to the recipients of the reforestation and out growers’ funds who were mainly tree farmers from his constituency, he allegedly misused the funds.

Anderson Kesaka of Mauri lawyers represents Taremae while Public Prosecutors Bradley Dalipanda and Dalcy Belapitu are prosecuting.

The fund that was allegedly misused by the Taremae was from the Ministry of Forestry and Research, which is a reforestation subsidy to all 50 constituencies.


Men facing riot charges on bail

Four more men facing riot charges have been released on bail, this week in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.

They are part of a group of men who were accused of causing disturbances in Honiara during the election of the prime minister in April.

They are facing charges of unlawful assembly and riot in relation to allegations on 24 April 2019 at the Kukum market area, East Honiara.

Principal Magistrate Ishmael Kekou released each of the four young men on principal bail of $500 attached with strict bail conditions.

He also issued warrant of arrests for three of the accused on bail who failed to turn up in court.

Having heard from the prosecution and the defence counsel, Mr Kekou adjourned the matter to September 20.

He ordered the defence to make any proposals they intend to make to the prosecution before the next date.

He said this is to give time for the prosecution to reply to the proposal.

The court will be reviewing the warrant of arrest for the three accused on the next date as well.

Lawyers from the Public Solicitor’s Office are representing the accused while Public Prosecutor Andrew Meioko appeared on behalf of the Crown.