A Honiara magistrate has expressed his disappointment following the absence of lawyers representing two of the men accused of a murder of a man in Auki, Malaita, in court, Tuesday.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Shepherd Lapo said the matter was adjourned for Tuesday purposely for those two lawyers to turn up in court.
This is so they can talk about the issues surrounding the long form preliminary inquiry conducted on the matter.
Mr Lapo intends to raise the issue of stopping the defence case with the lawyers’ had they turned up yesterday.
Private Lawyers Hubert Fugui and Anderson Kesaka did show up but that was after when the matter was already adjourned.
Two of the accused Jeeney Ete and Luciano Laukasi want to call their witnesses and also give evidence on oath for the defence case.
Prosecution had already closed its case on the committal hearing last year.
Mr Lapo however yesterday has indicated wanting to stop the committal hearing.
He said he would then instead give his ruling based on the evidence collected so far from the prosecution’s case.
He added that the evidence so far is sufficient to commit the case to the High Court for trial.
Public Prosecutor Bradley Dalipanda also shared the same view as the court.
Mr Dalipanda said the accused can call their evidence during the trial at the High Court and that would still not be prejudice to them.
He stressed that the matter has been dragged on for too long now adding that he will be engaged in another trial starting today.
Mr Lapo therefore adjourned the matter to February 22 and ordered that he will close the matter if the defence counsels fail to appear in court again.
“If nothing happen I will order the defence to close its case and seek the prosecution and the defence to make their closing submissions.”
The two accused are jointly charged with Benard Lagate’e and Milton Maelikini who did not intend to give evidence or call witnesses.
Their lawyers from the Public Solicitor’s Office, Ben Alasia and Henry Kausimae had already conceded sufficient evidence on their case following evidences from the prosecution’s witnesses.
All accused were jointly charged for the murder of a man between August 17 and August 18, 2015 at the Sea Sound area, Gwaunaru’u.
The deceased’s body was found near the Bmobile tower at Auki.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN