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In court with Assumpta Buchanan

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Magistrate summons social welfare boss


Director of Social Welfare has been ordered to appear in court next Monday.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Garo yesterday made the order following the absence of a Social Welfare officer in court.

Ms Garo on Monday summoned a Social Welfare officer to turn up in court yesterday to explain why they have failed to produce a report for a juvenile in custody.

The juvenile’s case is awaiting the Social Welfare report before it can proceed further.

But when she mentioned the matter yesterday no Social Welfare officer was present.

It was after she made the adjournment that a Social Welfare officer turned up.

The 17-year-old is yet to take his plea on the charges of grievous harm and simple larceny.

Police alleged the juvenile swiped a bush knife at another man, cutting the man’s fingers in August this year.

In another two theft cases, he allegedly stole a bicycle worth $1,700 and clothes worth $370 from the nurses’ dormitory at Helena Goldie Hospital.

All properties stolen have been recovered.

Chris Rarumae of Public Solicitor’s Office represents the juvenile.

 


Accused say sorry to victim

A CASE involving three young men who assaulted their sister’s boy-friend have been reconciled in court on Monday.

This was after the victim sought to withdraw the case and had the matter reconciled.

The victim said the action of the men made it unsafe for him and the communities.

He therefore settled the matter with the accuseds’ parents and guardians.

Lawrence Raena, 20, and two juveniles aged 17 and 15 were charged with one count each of common assault.

This was for assaulting their cousin sister’s boyfriend three months ago at Naha, East Honiara, with a hook knife.

According to police, the accused were not happy to see the victim together with their sister that night which resulted in the assault.

The trio did not know that the relationship between the victim and their relative has already been settled and agreed on by their families.

Principal Magistrate Emma Garo told the young men that they should have settled things between them and the victim but instead they reversed the situation.

Ms Garo encouraged them to take responsibilities and to apologise to the victim.

After the men apologised and shook hands with the victim, Ms Garo reconciled the matter under section 35 of the Magistrates Court Act.

She also placed them on a good behaviour bond for a year meaning all accused must not commit any offence for that period of time.


Rape trial nears end

A TRIAL of a man accused of raping his wife’s niece, March this year at the Fishing Village in Honiara, is nearing its completion.

The accused, a thirty-year-old man who cannot be named to protect the identity of his alleged victim, was accused of raping his wife’s 13-year-old niece on March 2 this year.

The court heard from the girl’s evidence on Monday, that the accused pulled her next to the Ministry of Fisheries Office and raped her.

It was heard that the accused and his wife were having an argument earlier that night and took off with his three-year-old child to the Fishing Village.

The alleged victim said her aunt, her grandmother, and herself went after the accused to get back the child.

According to her evidence, they went down to Fishing Village to get the child when the alleged rape took place.

The defence at the close of the prosecution case made a no case to answer submission.

But Justice Stephen Pallaras ruled that the accused has a case to answer which saw the accused giving his evidence yesterday.

The matter was adjourned to today as the accused is intending to call a witness.

The defence has called three witnesses including the accused and also tendered by consent a witness statement.

Michael Holara of Public Solicitor’s Office represented the accused while Ricky Iomea of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions appeared for the state.
 


Husband guilty of raping estranged wife

High Court Judge, Justice James Apaniai on Monday found the husband on trial for raping his estranged wife, guilty of the offence.

The accused who is in his 30’s raped his wife at Fox Wood area in East Guadalcanal in 2009.

They were separated two weeks before the incident occurred.

The court heard that on the day of the incident, the accused met the victim in front of a shop in Honiara.

It was revealed in court he forced her into his car and drove up to Fox Wood where he raped her in the vehicle.

The husband had earlier made a no case to answer submission at the close of the prosecution case, but Justice Apaniai in his ruling had made a landmark decision that marital rape is no longer accepted in Solomon Islands.

Mitigation and sentencing submissions will be orally made in court on November 29.
 


Taxi driver’s fate today

THE fate of a taxi driver on trial for allegedly raping his passenger in his taxi at Henderson, East Honiara, will be known today.

The judgment comes after three days of hearing in the High Court last month.

Justice Stephen Pallaras will deliver his verdict on Eric Freeman, 44, who faces three counts of rape.

Prosecution alleged that on 12 November 2009, Freeman picked up the girl at Rove, West Honiara, and instead of dropping her off at the National Referral Hospital, took her all the way up to Henderson.

There, the prosecution alleged Freeman raped the alleged victim three times that night