Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi handed down the decision on Tuesday, saying there was sufficient evidence against Jimmy Lusibaea Jnr on the charges of murder and driving an unlicensed motor vehicle.
Lusibaea Jnr was, however, acquitted of a third charge – driving a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s licence – due to insufficient evidence.
“I find that there is sufficient evidence on the charge of murder, Principal Magistrate Taeburi said.
She said there is evidence from eyewitnesses of the incident and also an evidence of autopsy report and the inspection report of the vehicle.
“(I) therefore commit the defendant to stand trial in the High Court on the charge of murder,” she added.
On the charge of driving an unlicensed vehicle, Principal Magistrate Taeburi said there is evidence of one witness that stated the licence to the vehicle was issued on 1 November 2018 and expired on 31 October 2019.
“This means at the time of the incident on 6 December 2020, there is prosecution evidence that shows the vehicle’s registration has expired. I do not find any evidence on the charge of driving without a valid driver’s licence,” Magistrate Taeburi said.
She said the statement of a prosecution witness regarding this charge was irrelevant.
The court heard that the statement did not mention any information on the driver’s licence of the accused as it only referred to the driver’s license of another person close to the accused.
Principal Magistrate Taeburi said there was no other evidence on the prosecution’s deposition on that charge, hence she had made the order for acquittal on this charge.
Before the ruling, the Principal Magistrate had disregarded evidence of two prosecution witnesses and a document containing information of a vehicle license as she could not read them properly.
Earlier she questioned the police and the prosecution as to why they did not type out those handwritten statements.
She said she was unable to read those handwritten statements as they were not clear. The defence also agreed with her on this issue.
Principal Magistrate Taeburi committed the case to be heard in the High Court based on other prosecution evidence tendered in court.
Lusibaea Jnr is due to appear in the High Court at 1.30 pm on March 26.
Since he is on remand and his remand warrant needs to be extended after every 14 days, he will appear again at the Honiara Magistrate’s Court on March 16 to formalise the extension of his remand warrant.
Lusibaea Jnr was charged in relation to the incident which allegedly occurred between 6 am and 8 am on 6th December 2020 outside the Island Nightclub area.
The prosecution alleged he drove a white double-cabin Hilux at high speed in front of the club area and allegedly hit and killed the deceased.
The incident allegedly occurred shortly after an argument and a rock-throwing incident between the opposing parties that morning.
Public Solicitor George Gray represented Lusibaea Jnr while Public Prosecutor Myrella Cleven appeared for the Crown.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN BONGIDANI