THE man accused of posting fake news about COVID-19 on is Facebook page has been acquitted of the offence, Monday.
This was after Principal Magistrate Tearo Beneteti found insufficient evidence against Peterson Boso to continue with the trial.
Boso’s lawyer had applied for a “no case to answer” submission at the end of the prosecution case.
He was charged with one count of spreading false rumours contrary to section 63 of the Penal code.
Speaking to the Solomon Star yesterday, Mr. Boso said his four months battle with the court is finally over and he is a free man.
He also posted on his Facebook page the news about his victory.
He dedicated his victory to his two children and his their mother who had supported him and with his during the hard times.
“After a hard-fought battle which is both personally challenging and disturbing, the case taken against Boso was dusted,” Boso said.
The prosecution had called four witnesses at the trial.
Private Lawyer Ronald Dive who represents Boso said after the magistrate after analysing the evidence of those witnesses found insufficient evidence against his client.
He said one of the main elements that were not proved is the damage to social order.
“Even if the prosecution did establish that element, however, there were no damages being done,” he explained.
He said prosecution witnesses were only concerned about what was posted and that there was no evidence to establish fear and public anxiety.
The prosecution had alleged that Boso’s post had caused fear and panic amongst families and the general public.
Dive further explained that according to section 63 of the penal code, the publication has to be in written form on the paper and not on the internet.
He said the country does not have a cyber-legislation.
He said the magistrate, therefore, said there is a reference to interpret the law and acquitted his client
Boso was arrested by police on April 1.
This was for allegedly posting false breaking news on his Facebook page “Soreboko” that there four confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country on March 12.
This was during the State of Public Emergency in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Solomon Islands however does not have any confirmed positive case.
Police Prosecutor John Palmer appeared for the crown.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN