Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) wants to see an inquest conducted into the death of three men whom a search and rescue efforts failed to save them.
The trio went missing at sea on December 28 near Gela when their outboard motor engine broke down.
Their bodies were found on the coast of Malaita on New Year’s Eve.
MMF general secretary Charles Ashley said under the Death and Fire Inquest, a magistrate has the power to hear stories of the family and the marine authorities.
Ashley said it depends on the families of the deceased if they want the inquest to happen.
However, he said it is important in order for the family to release their minds by testifying in front of a magistrate.
The Death and Fire Inquest in Solomon Islands is provided under Death and Fire Inquiries Act (Chapter 9).
This Act was introduced by the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Government 81 years ago on 15th December 1926 and provides for inquiries into the causes of death or fire.
A minor amendment to the Act was made in 1978.
Former Chief Magistrate, Leonard Maina, who is now a High Court judge, in 2007 said death inquest was not common in Solomon Islands.
He said from his 14 years with Solomon Islands Magistracy, two such matters came before him.
“I used or relied on affidavits to determine the cause of death.
“The recent death inquest was conducted few years ago, involving the death a New Zealand diplomat around her residence,” he said.
Maina said generally, the death inquest is not common for various reasons:
(i) Relatives of deceased do not report to Police or magistrates
(ii) Police do not report or bring up cases to magistrates.
(iii) People always accept the cause of death, if it is explained by Doctors or Police.
On some occasions, relatives do not allow examinations on the dead body.
Maina said there is no specific rule of practice on the conduct of death or fire inquest.
He said the magistrate/coroners rely on common law rules when conducting death or fire inquest.
By EDDIE OSIFELO