THE Beche-de-mer case that has been remitted back to the Honiara Magistrates’ Court for a re-trial has been mentioned on Monday.
Accused Dr Regional Aipia was not present in court except for his lawyer, Wilson Rano of Rano & Company.
Public Prosecutor Maito’o Hauirae told the court yesterday prosecution will be filing amended charges. An adjournment was sought so that the amended charges could be filed.
Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Kouhota adjourned the matter to May 13. He also ordered that the amendment charge be filed within 14 days.
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 weighing around 1,526.28 kilograms without lawful excuse.
Principal Magistrate Jim Seuika has 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.
Mr Rano 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