Dear Editor – We refer to the Solomon Star News headline on Monday 11th July 2016, Issue No. 6328, of criticisms of delays in the High Court in relation to logging matters costing the Government “millions” in log export taxes.
While not seeking to downplay the very serious effects of delay in hearing matters coming before the courts, it must be realised the litigation surrounding logging has stretched the courts resources and judges to the limit.
In the last few years the number of cases involving persons arguing over timber rights has grown beyond reason causing an unfortunate back-log with the commensurate effect on the delivery of judgments. While particular cases have been mentioned, it is not proper for the court to comment about them whilst they are yet to be decided for fear of causing the proceedings to miscarry and thus bring further delay to a proper resolution.
Later in the week also on Friday 15 July 2016, Solomon Star Issue No. 6333, the important role of an Independent Commission against Corruption was addressed in an article which spoke of the need for a properly funded and resourced institution.
This court, which represents the third pillar of a democratic State, needs to be recognised as the judicial institution responsible under the Constitution and as such must have the resources and manpower sufficient to carry out its functions. Only recently three more judges of the court have been appointed. The court is grateful that funding of one judge has come from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, recognition of the importance of the courts role and the need for proper resourcing.
The court hopes with the increase in establishment by these appointments that criticism about delay will be avoided in future.
The Chief Justice is completely satisfied about the integrity of his court and refutes any suggestion of corruption impliedly made in the press report. He is rightly concerned by the delays and the recent appointments will, he trusts, result in a speedy and fair court process to allay any further public concerns. We can assure the public that we are working actively at addressing those issues relating to delays and concerns that have been raised in the media.
Myonnie Tutuo Samani
Registrar High Court