* Lawyers summoned to explain delay
* Bank robbery cases before court March 5
* Court grants final adjournment
Lawyers summoned to explain delay
TWO senior lawyers from the Public Solicitor’s Office have been ordered to attend court today and explain the delay in allocating a lawyer for one of the three men facing false pretence and intimidation charge.
This was after the accused Gordon Billy Mark told the court yesterday that he is still without a lawyer.
Mark, John Ross and Nelson Maeta who are on bail have all appeared in person yesterday in court and their matter adjourned to today.
Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi yesterday said the court has on previous court appearances made orders for the Public Solicitor’s Office to allocate a lawyer for Mark.
She said it seems the orders and directions made by the court on previous occasions in respect to allocation are not communicated to the senior lawyers responsible for the allocation of lawyers in the Public Solicitor’s Office or that they communicated but were not taken on board seriously.
Having looked through the court’s file, Ms Taeburi said in July last year Mark and Maeta did not have lawyers.
She said they were without lawyer for some occasions prior to July 2017 as appeared on recording.
Ms Taeburi added that the trial for this matter was set in September 2017 and the trial was then vacated for these same issues, where Mark does not have a lawyer.
“From July 2017 to now, it has been eight months, no lawyer was allocated for Mark,” she said.
“It is very unreasonable.
“I can understand the work load and the limited man power and resources your office is experiencing but eight months delay in allocating a lawyer for an accused person is unreasonable,” Ms Taeburi told a PSO lawyer who was present in court yesterday.
It was for those reasons, that Ms Taeburi ordered the two senior lawyers in the Public Solicitor’s Office to attend court today to address issue of allocation in this case.
The trio are accused of obtaining $300,000 by selling by selling a fake gold bar to former Minister of Truth Reconciliation and Peace Hypolite Taremae in 2011.
The matter was reported to the police after he found out the bars were made from lead metal and painted with gold colour paint.
The intimidation charge relates to the incident on which the accused men allegedly threatened to shoot the case officer investigating the case with a gun.
Bank robbery cases before court March 5
THE three separate cases of armed bank robberies that occurred in the country in previous years will be mentioned in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court again on March 5.
This is for pleas and for the prosecution to review the Crown’s case into the case of one of the alleged robbers.
Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi said if by then no positive feedback is being given then she suggested that Harry Lilimae’s matter be acquitted.
Prosecution yesterday withdrew the charge against Lilimae under section 190 (2) (b) (ii) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which provides for a discharge.
This was due to insufficient evidence at the moment to sustain the charge against him.
Ms Taeburi also ordered prosecution to rectify some charges against some of the accused and to have the rectified charges filed before the next court date.
These three matters have been previously decided by the court to be committed to the High Court to be dealt with there.
Committal hearings will be conducted to have these matters committed to the High Court.
Prosecution made the application have these armed robbery matters committed to the High Court to be dealt there to ensure a higher sentence is imposed given the seriousness of the offences.
This was because the High Court can impose a higher sentence than the Magistrates’ Court.
One of the armed robbery matters is in relation to the theft of $1 million from two Asians outside of the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) at Point Cruz in 2016.
Ben Farobo, David Faiga, Stanley Ramo, Eric Junior Nathaniel and Richard Rurai are accused of this bank robbery.
The incident occurred on the morning of 18 January 2016 outside the bank.
The five accused allegedly robbed a carton containing the $1 million from the two Asians who were on their way into the bank to make deposit.
Prosecution alleged one of the accused waited in a car parked outside the bank while others went and attacked the complainant.
They then allegedly grabbed the carton containing the money and escaped in the car but were shortly arrested, charged and remanded in custody.
Police alleged all the accused wore masks and one of them was armed with a knife.
The other armed bank robbery occurred on the morning of 26 January 2015, from the Westpac Bank at Point Cruz involving $4 million.
A security officer has had his wrist cut during the commission of this robbery.
Stanley Waneakwasia, Jonathan Wanefiolo, Patterson Amos Otokwai, Harry Lilimae, Dudley Baemalia and Gabi Selo are accused of this robbery.
Waneakwasia and Wanefiolo have already pleaded guilty to this robbery and are yet to be sentenced while Selo is currently serving his eight years imprisonment for his involvement in this robbery and for cutting off the hand of a security officer.
Selo was sentenced in February last year in the High Court following his convictions on his own guilty pleas to the charges of armed robbery and grievous harm.
He appealed his sentence but the Court of Appeal quashed the eight years jail term and imposed 14 years imprisonment.
Two security officers were wheeling out boxes containing $4millon to a waiting vehicle outside the bank when the alleged robbers grabbed the two boxes.
Two of the alleged robbers were each armed with long knives.
One of the security officers wheeling the money was Lilimae.
Both securities were attacked but Lilimae was left unharmed while his colleague got his wrist chopped off.
Outside the bank, the five men took off in a car heading west in a very high speed.
After a police and public chase, the car crashed at Kakabona.
The alleged robbers quickly disembarked from the crashed car with knives, threatening anyone approaching them.
Police managed to arrest some of them on the spot and others that escaped were arrested later.
Police also managed to retrieve $3.7 million, the other $200,000 was still missing.
A young man, Bartholomew Bar admitted in court that he stole $20,000 of the missing money and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
In relation to the third bank armed robbery, the incident occurred on the morning of 27 November 2015 at the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) at Auki, Malaita Province.
Nelson Ausolo, Solomon Wadily, Patrick Talo, Peter Eto Kafa, and John Kiki are accused of this bank robbery.
Prosecution alleged some of the accused were armed with firearms and fired a shot before they went into the bank.
They allegedly filled up bags with about (SBD) $200,000 and (US) $10,000 while one of them was standing guard outside the bank.
Prosecution further alleged that before they took off from the bank, another gun shot was fired.
They were all also allegedly wearing masks at that time.
Court grants final adjournment
THE court is allowing a final adjournment for prosecution to review the warrant of arrest issued for the Asian accused of illegally setting up a casino and disappeared after the court varied his bail.
Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi, who is presiding over the matter, said this case should have been withdrawn given that the accused Ting Kwong Hing failed to return back to the country.
She added for a business man like Hing, the $20,000 he paid to the court before leaving the country is small money to him.
Public Prosecutor John Wesley Zoze, who stood on instruction of his colleague Bradley Dalipanda, however said they are hoping Hing will return since he has his business here.
In light of this, Ms Taeburi granted an adjournment but said this would be the last one.
She said if nothing happens by then t this matter should be withdrawn.
Prosecution on a previous court appearance intended to have Hing’s matter discharged.
Mr Zoze however, said he appeared yesterday without any instruction except that this is a warrant of arrest matter.
Hing and his Company Cyber King Limited are facing one count each of unlawful commercial gaming and unlawful possession of instruments for gaming.
They were charged under different sections of the Gaming and Lotteries Act and the Gaming Regulation.
Hing was issued with a warrant of arrest after he failed to attend to his case in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court on a previous occasion last year.
The court had varied some of his bail conditions to allow him to travel to Australia on July 6 and to return on July 15, last year as scheduled on his ticket.
Hing left for Perth, Australia, on July 6 but failed to return to the country resulting in the warrant of arrest being issued for him.
Michael Pitakaka of Michael Pitakaka Law Chamber, who used to represent Hing, had already withdrew his legal representation.
This was because Hing left without paying his legal bills and without giving any instructions for his lawyer to continue represent him.
It was not known if he is still in Australia or has gone to his home country.
A copy of the warrant of arrest was given to the Immigration Department in the hope that they would execute it when Hing arrived from abroad.
Cyber King opened and operated at Crossroad, Henderson, but was ordered to close its doors on 27 April last year, just days after opening.
This followed a stop notice served to them by the Members of the Gaming and Lottery Board for allegedly operating unlawfully without commercial gaming permit issued by the Gaming and Lotteries Board.