A MAGISTRATE has expressed disappointment at the absence of Public Solicitor lawyers in relation to a criminal case, Friday.
Principal Magistrate Jim Seuika said it is the duty of the lawyers to turn up in court or to give instructions to their colleagues to appear so that cases can progress to the next stage.
This was after Police Prosecutor Moses Reani told the court he is still waiting for the return of pre-trial conference documents that were sent to one of the lawyers representing one of the accused men.
Mr Reani said he went to the Public Solicitor’s Office but was told the lawyer is also engaged in a High Court trial.
The court heard that another lawyer in this same case was also on leave.
Private lawyer Lesley Kwaiga, who represented Frank Firimolea, was the only lawyer present in court yesterday.
He however, would need to see the pre-trial conference documents that were sent to one of the PSO lawyers in order to sign it.
Mr Seuika said counsels in this matter have not done their duty in most mentions in this case.
He said the counsels are not doing their duty to the court and to the accused in custody.
“If counsels cannot come to court, they should have given written instructions or give instructions through another colleague rather than making no appearance at all without instructions,” a disappointed Mr Seuika said.
“The court needs some instructions,” he added.
“The continuous adjournment of this case is due to the absence of lawyers and this is very unprofessional.”
He said he cannot just proceed jumping over procedures.
All accused have already taken their pleas and are waiting for trial, pending the pre-trial conference.
Mr Seuika said non-appearance of the lawyers is not a good excuse for an adjournment.
Mr Kwaiga agreed with the court and said there are a number of lawyers with the PSO and they should have showed some courtesy.
He said failing to appear in court and without instructions is just not acceptable.
“That should be sum up to the PSO so the office can carry out its duty to this court.”
The matter was adjourned to November 23 for the court to set a trial date.
Mr Seuika asked prosecution to talk with the PSO lawyers and inform them the court needs instructions from them on the next court date.
Firimolea, Fred Taebo Dara, and Lawrence Liliva, a 15-year-old juvenile, and Alex Niumalefo are facing various charges in relation to the armed robbery on different dates in May and June this year.
Prosecution alleged that during those months, there were a number of armed robbery and break-ins cases reported to police from the Ngosi area, west Honiara; to Ranadi, east Honiara.
The incidents involved a group of armed masked men between the ages of 15 to 30.
It was alleged this group invaded homes of expatriates, businesses people, as well as those of Solomon Islanders and removed valuable properties and money.
A number of home owners sustained injuries during the robbery incidents and some have to be flown overseas for medical treatment.
Firimolea, Dara and Liliva are in custody while the rest are on bail.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN