Bail refused for man facing firearm-related charges
A BAIL application made for the man facing firearm-related charges who is in custody for breaching his bail condition has been refused on Wednesday.
Chief Magistrate Emma Garo in her ruling said Junior Mostyn Maenu’u did not appeal the court’s decision in September to revoke his bail.
“No evidence had been properly put before this court, to enable to this court, to determine judiciously, which way this bail application should fall,” Garo said.
Garo added that the Constitution is a living document.
“The principles enshrined and embedded in the Constitution and the legal principles governing the law on bail, do not exist in a vacuum and in my view, cannot be argued interpreted or applied in a vacuum.”
She said with no evidence properly placed before this court, the inescapable conclusion is that the court cannot be satisfied with the flawed or lack of evidence is properly presented, that the circumstances of the defendant had changed since his bail was revoked, to justify the granting of bail.
“I further find that no evidence has been properly presented to show a change of circumstance in favour of granting bail to the defendant.
“Bail is refused,” Garo said.
Garo had rejected the sworn statements filed by the prosecution and the defense.
She said the sworn statements were not in due form in accordance to Solomon Islands Courts (Civil Procedure) Rules 2007.
This was because the legal practitioners who prepared the sworn statements, the address of the person witnessing the sworn statements, and the capacity of the person witnessing the signing of the sworn statements filed by the prosecution were not clearly stated in the sworn statements.
The defense had failed to clearly state the name of the legal practitioner who prepared their sworn statements.
Following the refusal of the bail application, the matter was adjourned to October 20 for a new trial date to be listed.
The trial date commencing on October 5 was vacated because the lawyer representing Maenu’u was sick at that time.
Maenu’u was initially charged with only one count of discharging of firearm and two counts of possession of a firearm without a firearm license.
These relate to allegations on 22 March this year and 22 April this year at upper Tinge, West Honiara.
Maenu’u was accused of discharging a firearm on those dates following an ongoing disagreement between the accused and the complainant’s family at Tinge Ridge.
He was later arrested, charged, and released on bail with strict bail conditions.
The prosecution alleged Maenu’u breached one of his bail conditions when he allegedly re-offended in July.
Following the breach of his bail condition, the accused’s bail was revoked and he was remanded in custody.
Maenu’u is now also facing one count of criminal trespass and two counts of intimidation.
The criminal trespass and one intimidation charges are in relation to an allegation on 13 July this year while the second intimidation charges relate to allegations on 4 July this year.
Hubert Fugui of HOF legal firm represents Maenu’u while advisor for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) Rachel Olutimayin and prosecutor Patricia Tabepuda are prosecuting.
Father denied bail
A MAN accused of having unlawful sexual intercourse with his 14-year-old daughter in July this year at Gela, Central Islands Province has been refused bail.
This was after Deputy Chief Magistrate Ricky Iomea was satisfied there is a likelihood the accused will interfere with prosecution witnesses and the young complainant.
The man who cannot be named to protect the identity of his daughter is facing three counts of domestic violence (two physical abuse and one psychological abuse) and one count of persistent sexual abuse of a child.
He applied for bail on the basis that he has a presumption of bail and that any proposed risk of non-compliance can be alleviated by the imposition of strict bail conditions.
He filed two sworn statements, one from him and his surety in support of his application.
The court heard that his surety who is his elder brother also filed an additional sworn statement in response to an objection by the crown.
They both made an assurance to the court to abide by any condition that may be imposed by the court.
The surety is also willing to pay a cash bail of $1,000.
The prosecution however strongly objected to the application on grounds that there is a risk of interfering with witnesses and the complainant.
They relied on the sworn statements of a police officer and the complainant’s grandmother.
The police officer had imposed that the complainant was fearful of his father because he had threatened to kill her if she reported the matter.
The officer stated police believed if the accused is released on bail then there is a likelihood the applicant will interfere with witnesses and the complainant.
He said the police officer further stated the complainant had already been traumatised by what the accused had done to her and had in the past attempted to commit suicide.
The complainant’s grandmother stated that she also fears if the accused is released on bail he will threaten and interfere with the complainant and witnesses.
The Crown also submitted that there is still no reconciliation and if the accused is released on bail there is a likelihood the maternal side of the complainant will retaliate against the complainant.
Iomea in his ruling said having noted the prosecution’s submission and the proposed surety’s response to crown that the situation between parties is still tense, said the likelihood of retaliation against the accused cannot be overruled at this stage.
The complainant is the daughter of the applicant (accused).
He further added that based on the evidence of the police officer, he is satisfied there is a likelihood of interference with witnesses in particular the young complainant.
“……and cause of justice cannot be downgraded at this stage.”
Having balanced the grounds relied on and concerns raised by the parties he was satisfied the concerns raised by the crown has outweighed the other considerations and assurances by the applicant and his surety.
“Therefore in the exercise of my discretion the application for bail is refused,” Iomea further added.
The matter will return to court again on October 20 for a plea and an election of a preliminary inquiry for committal purposes.
The father allegedly committed the offenses on July 2020 at Gela.
His daughter was only 14 years old at that time.
Public Solicitor’s lawyer Ron Dickey Pulekera is representing the accused while Public Prosecutor Patricia Tabepuda is prosecuting.
Ruling on Fox Wood murder committal today
A MAN accused of the murder of another man at Fox Wood area, Guadalcanal in July will today know whether or not he will face trial in the High Court.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Ricky Iomea will deliver his ruling on a short form preliminary inquiry conducted on the matter of Garnet Babaua today.
Babaua is facing one count of murder in relation to an allegation on 13 July this year at the Fox Wood area, Guadalcanal.
The prosecution alleged he assaulted the deceased by kicking him on his stomach, hips, and backside.
The deceased died two days later.
A short form of preliminary inquiry was conducted on a previous court date after he entered a not guilty plea to the charge.
Iomea will today give his ruling as to whether he will commit the matter to the High Court for trial or not.
If he finds sufficient evidence he will commit the matter to the High Court for trial but if he finds insufficient evidence he is likely to discharge the accused.
Ben Alasia of the Public Solicitor’s Office represents Babaua while prosecuting the matter is Patricia Tabepuda.