CHIEF Magistrate Emmanuel Kouhota has refused an application to stay the criminal proceedings against MP for East Guadalcanal Bradley Tovosia and former Guadalcanal premier Anthony Veke.
Nuatali Tongarutu, who is representing Tovosia, made an application to stay the criminal proceedings against the two accused.
She argued the civil case dealing with the same issues from which the charges against the accused stemmed had been filed before the Magistrates’ Court against two possible prosecution witness.
Mr Kouhota however, said the Counsel did not address the court on what provision of the Criminal Procedure Code or the Magistrates ‘Court Act she relied on to make the application.
Mrs Tongarutu also submitted to court that police did not complete their investigation in this case in which the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) sanctioned.
She said at the end of the day, the case is going to collapse.
Mr Kouhota said initiating criminal prosecution is the prerogative of the DPP and whether there is evidence to support his case is matter for him to consider and decide on.
He said the fact that the same issue in this criminal proceeding will be raised in the civil matter filed with his court, he does not think is a good ground to stay the criminal proceeding against the accused.
“The fact the defence counsel has made investigation and noticed that police did not take statements from some members of the Provincial Assembly who know about the issue gives her the liberty to call them as defence’s witnesses if she wishes,” Mr Kouhota said.
“I see no reason to stay the criminal proceeding; the application is refused.” Mr Kouhota ruled.
It was also heard in court that prosecution will be laying new charges against the two accused.
The new charges are likely to be done between now and the next mention date which is on March 24.
Anderson Kesaka of DNS & Partners law firm, who appeared for Veke, said he needs to see the particulars of the new charges and asked if that could be done between now and the next court date.
Mrs Nuatali is also seeking prosecution to disclose a witness statement.
Mr Kouhota adjourned the matter to give time for prosecution to provide the remaining disclosures and for any amendments to the charges be done before the next date.
The current charge against Tovosia is one count of abuse of office and 13 counts of abuse of office while Veke is facing one count of abuse of office and another of demanding with menaces.
These relate to the allegation in July 2010, when Tovosia was working with the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly and Veke as the Finance Minister for the province.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN