NO trial date has been fixed for the case of the man who allegedly caught and retained beche-de-mer for export during the period of the ban.
The matter came before the court yesterday during which prosecution and the defence counsels agreed for trial to be held in November.
Any trial date in September is not possible as prosecution will need time to transport witnesses from Ontong Java to Honiara, as well as engaging in other cases.
The defence will be also engaged in other cases in October.
Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Kouhota having heard the proposed date for trial adjourned the matter to September 8.
This is for an interim mention date.
Dr Regional Aipia is facing one count of count of possession of beche-de-mer for export contrary to section (c/s) 13A of Fisheries Act.
This was in relation to an allegation in 2013 at Lord Howe Islands, where he allegedly tried to export bags of mixed species of beche-de-mer weighing around 1,526.28 kilograms without lawful excuse.
Aipia’s case was remitted back to the Honiara Magistrates’ Court for re-trial after High Court stayed the orders of the magistrate who dismissed the charge against him.
A Honiara Magistrate earlier last year dismissed the charge against Aipia for having being instituted beyond six months after the alleged commissioning of the crime contrary to section 206 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
The magistrate made orders that Aipia’s case be discharged under section 190 (2) (b) (i) of the CPC and that the confiscated beche-de-mers be returned to him.
Wilson Rano of Rano & Company, who represented Aipia, had made the application to discharge his client on 31 October last year on grounds that the charge was filed beyond six months’ time limit.
Prosecution however filed an application to stay and review the orders of the Magistrates’ Court.
Former judge, Justice Stephen Pallaras who heard the matter, granted prosecution’s application and ordered that the magistrate’s orders be stayed until the review is heard.
He also stayed the orders of the magistrate’s ruling for the return of the products subjected to the charge seized by the officers of the Fisheries Department in condition with the police.
After reviewing the matter, Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer remitted the case back to the Magistrates’ Court for hearing by another magistrate.
Public Prosecutor Sirepu Ramosaea represents the State.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN