CHIEF Magistrate John Numapo has refuted a report in the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Cooperation (SIBC) last week claiming no court circuits were conducted at Malu’u and other districts in Malaita for some eight years or so.
Speaking to the media on Friday, he said that report was totally incorrect.
“For the record, there were two court circuits conducted in Malu’u this year,” Mr Numapo said.
“The first one was on 15 March 2016 and the second one was on the 7 June 2016,” he added.
He said the Maka circuit took place on the 9 of May this year while Atori circuit was scheduled for 18 April this year but was deferred at the request of the Atori police because they have not served summons to the witnesses.
For other provinces, he said they have done three circuits to Lata this year and the fourth circuit will commence next week.
“This will be the last one for this year,” Mr Numapo said.
“So far we have conducted two circuits to Yandina this year with the recent one completed just last week.
“We have also done circuits to Munda, Noro and Seghe in Western Province this year.”
Mr Numapo added that in Buala, Isabel, and Renbel, they have done two court circuits each there.
He said the next circuit to Buala this year will be on 3 October.
“Renbell was circuited twice this year.
“We have also conducted court circuit to Marau, Guadalcanal, and the second one will be on 26 September 2016,” Mr Numapo said.
Mr Numapo said depending on the funding they intend to conduct at least eight more circuits throughout the country before the end of the year.
He said they are doing their best to ensure that the 2016 Court Circuit Calendar is fully implemented so that all provinces and districts are covered.
“I must admit though that transportation and logistics are often difficult to reach out to some of the outer Islands.
“In some district locations we do not have permanent court houses to hold court sittings and so we had to hire out other buildings to use.
“Our long term plan is to have magistrates based in the provinces where we currently do not have resident magistrate.
“Lata, Buala and Munda are our priority at the moment.
“Lata already has a court house and magistrates’ residence so when our man power builds up we will have a magistrate posted to Lata,” Mr Numapo said.
Mr Numapo said Buala and Munda do not have court buildings and other infrastructures so it might take time.
The Magistrates’ Court in the country has only 11 magistrates so far with five of them serving out in the provinces.
The courts are in the process of getting in three more female magistrates.
Mr Numapo said in light of the staffing issue, they need 18 magistrates but 15 are sufficient.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN