POLICE will serve a summon to Dr Reginald Aipia who is facing a beche-de-mer related charge so that he appears next in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.
Public Prosecutor Bradley Dalipanda yesterday informed the court Aipia is currently in Lord Howe, Malaita Outer Islands (MOI).
He said, the status of the case is for police to serve him summon to appear in court.
Mr Dalipanda is appearing on instructions from his colleague Sirepu Ramosaea who is mentioning cases in another court room.
The court heard that communication is on-going with police regarding logistics to travel to Lord Howe to serve summon but it is not forthcoming.
He sought an adjournment so police can again follow up and see how best they can serve summon on the accused.
Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Kouhota adjourned the matter to June 8 to allow police time to serve the summon.
Prosecution during the last occasion said, they will be amending the charge against Aipia.
Aipia was charged with one 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.
Principal Magistrate Jim Seuika 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).
Magistrate Seuika 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.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN