THE case of Dr Reginald Aipia who is facing a beche-de-mer related charge will appear in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court today.
The matter was on the court list yesterday but Public Prosecutor Hauirae Maito’o told the court according to their understanding the matter was listed for today.
He said the matter was taken carriage by his colleague Sirepu Ramosaea and asked if the matter can be stood down for today because she is attending a workshop.
Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Kouhota therefore granted an adjournment.
On the last occasion, prosecution has informed the court it will be filing an amended charge.
The matter was then adjourned to today to allow the filing of the amended charge.
Aipia was charged with one count of possession of beche-de-mer for export contrary to section (c/s) 13A of Fisheries Act.
This was in relation to the allegation 2013 at Lord Howe Islands, where he allegedly tried to export bags of mixed species of beche-de-mer weighing around 1,526.28 kilograms without lawful excuse.
Aipia’s case was remitted back to the Honiara Magistrates’ Court for re-trial after High Court stayed the orders of the magistrate who dismissed the charge against him.
Principal Magistrate Jim Seuika has earlier last year dismissed the charge against Aipia for having being instituted beyond six months after the alleged commissioning of the crime contrary to section 206 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
Magistrate Seuika made orders that Aipia’s case be discharged under section 190 (2) (b) (i) of the CPC and that the confiscated beche-de-mers be returned to him.
Wilson Rano of Rano & Company, who represented Aipia, had made the application to discharge his client on 31 October last year on grounds that the charge was filed beyond six months’ time limit. Prosecution however filed an application to stay and review the orders of the Magistrates’ Court. Former judge, Justice Stephen Pallaras who heard the matter granted prosecution’s application and ordered that the magistrate’s orders be stayed until the review is heard.
He also stayed the orders of the magistrate’s ruling for the return of the products subjected to the charge seized by the officers of the Fisheries Department in condition with the police.
After reviewing the matter, Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer remitted the matter back to the Magistrates’ Court for hearing by another magistrate.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN