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Lawyer’s application to practise rejected

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The High court registrar has rejected Charles Ashley’s application to renew his practise certificate on the ground he may face disciplinary action from Solomon Islands Bar Association (SIBA).

This came after Ashley prepares to continue with the constitutional case against the Australian government and RAMSI after releasing from Rove Correctional Centre last month.

Mr Ashley has confirmed receiving the letter yesterday morning, but had denied ever receiving any charges from SIBA.

Mr Ashley said he is going to take to matter up with SIBA to find out about what charges they intend to lay against him.

“I am of the view to being discriminated against for not obtaining my practise certificate because I believe that other lawyers who are currently facing disciplinary charges from SIBA are still practising,” the private lawyer said.

Three former Members of Parliament (MPs), Charles Dausabea, Alex Bartlett and Nelson Ne’e who were wrongly accused for masterminding the 2006 April Riots have applied for the case against the parties concerned.

Ashley filed the cased in the High Court last October after RAMSI and the Australian government have subsequently refused to submit documents to court in relation to the April riots.

This was a follow up of the civil case by the three former MPs against the Government for malicious prosecution.

However, Ashley was not able to continue with the case after he was sentenced for a year for three counts of conversion on February this year.

But he only served four months in the Rove Correctional Centre and was released last month.

One of his clients, Dausabea said they will now meet to find a new lawyer to represent them in the case.

The constitutional case is set for May 11.

Whilst RAMSI and the Australian Government were not parties to the case, they were required by the court to produce documents relating to the riot.

However, their legal representative Andrew Radclyffe wrote to the High Court last month claiming immunity that they were not required to answer to the court because they were protected by the Facilitation Act of 2003; which was accepted by the court.

It is understood the Facilitation Act stated that no law can supersede the facilitation act except the country’s constitution.

Therefore, Mr Ashley wrote to Mr Radclyffe advising them that his clients would be taking on a constitutional case against RAMSI and the Australian government.

The constitutional case involved sections of the constitution in relation to the Police Act, the Commission of Enquiry Act and the Facilitation Act.

The Claimants are seeking the following reliefs against either or both defendants;

  • The then Police Commissioner Shane Castles was subjected to the direction of the Australian Government and RAMSI and not the Solomon Islands Government which was a breach of subsection (5) of 43 of the Solomon Islands Constitution.
  • A declaration that in breaching subsection (5) of section 43, the Australian Government or the Special Coordinator of RAMSI are not entitled to any claim of immunity under the provisions of the Facilitation Act of 2003; and
  • A finding that actions by the Australian government and Special Coordinator of RAMSI not to disclose documents to the High Court is in breach of the Claimants right to a fair hearing as provided for under subsection (8) of section 10 of the Solomon Islands Constitution; and
  • An order directing the defendants to release the required documents relating to the April Riots to the incumbent Police Commissioner; and
  • A declaration by the Facilitation Act does not absolve the Australian Government and RAMSI from liability to pay compensation for contravention of fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals under Chapter 2 of the Constitution;
  • A finding that the arrest, detention and prosecution of the three MPs in connection with the riots has breached Claimants rights and freedoms;
  • An order damages must be paid by the defendants for breaching the Claimants fundamental rights and freedoms under Chapter 2 of the Constitution; and
  • Findings and recommendations of the 2006 April Riots Commission of Inquiry against the defendants must be accepted;
  • An order for compensation to be assessed if not agreed
  • An order for costs on an indemnity basis; and
  • Any further or other orders the court deems fair and just

The Claimants have named the Australian government as the first defendant and the Special Coordinator of RAMSI as the second defendant.