Lawyer faces court
A LOCAL lawyer has been charged for allegedly fabricating a local court decision in 2012.
Wilson Rano, of Rano & Company legal firm, is facing charges of forgery and fabrication.
His matter was mentioned in court on Monday but because police prosecutions were locked out of their office and could not get their file, the matter was further adjourned to March 24.
Rano has engaged Michael Pitakaka of MP Law Chambers to represent him in court.
He joins former public officer Nilton Chite and Rodney Hiva who were already charged for the same offences.
The trio are facing charges in relation to an allegation in 2010 in relation to a land dispute.
The dispute was between Ataban Tahu and Rodney Hiva over a customary land known as Guva, Choki, Chale and other portions of customary land located at East New Georgia in Western Province.
Chite was alleged to be Hiva’s spokesman at that time.
The court document revealed that according to Hiva, all the named lands are known as Choe land but Tahu denied the existence of Choe Land and claimed that there had never been a land called Choe.
Tahu however, asserted that Choe is well known for a river but not land as claimed by Hiva.
The dispute was then referred to the Marovo Council of Chiefs by Tahu and a hearing was conducted at Seghe Court House on 12 October 2010.
It was alleged that both parties attended the hearing and presented their respective evidences before the panel, which comprised of four chiefs and the Council of Chiefs Secretary.
According to court documents, at the end of the hearing, the chiefs made their decision and it was in favour of Tahu of which Hiva was not happy about the decision.
Hiva, as alleged, did not appeal to the local court but had allegedly challenged the decision in the High Court, but the High Court refused his application.
He then again allegedly further appealed to the Court of Appeal, but again the Court of Appeal dismissed his bid and upheld the decision made by the High Court.
Chite then allegedly attended a law firm in Honiara and filed a statement in support of Hiva.
It was further alleged that Chite instructed Rano to prepare the form 1 of the local court where they allegedly prepared and altered all wordings in the summary of findings from the original decision.
Police alleged that altered decision became the new version of the decision of the Marovo Council of Chiefs, which Chite allegedly claimed that the document he exhibited is the decision of the Marovo
Council of Chiefs.
Police however, alleged that there are anomalies in the document that make the document become false in its nature and one of the anomalies is the date mentioned in the document which is 13 September 2010.
It was alleged that on 20 June 2013, Tahu discovered the new document claimed to be the decision of the Marovo Council of Chiefs and the document was presented at Gizo Local Court by Chite.
Tahu then lodged a complaint to police claiming the document exhibited by Chite was a forged and fabricated document.
The court document also revealed that police investigation is still on progress when a local court was scheduled and held by the New Georgia Local Court at Noro in the Western Province on 14 July 2014.
Tahu objected the hearing based on the fact that police investigation into the allege offence of forgery of the decision was still professing.
The Justice of the local court refused the objection and continues to hear the dispute between Tahu and Hiva.
It was alleged that during the hearing, Hiva and Chite relied very much on the new document which they claimed to be the decision of the Marovo Council of Chiefs.
As a result, the local court ruled in favour of Hiva.
Tahu again reinforced his complaint to police that document exhibited by Chite was a false because the original decision of Marovo Council of Chiefs to which Chite made reference was different from the one exhibited by Chite.
Tahu asserted that the document exhibited by Chite the material part of the original document had been omitted purposely to mislead the local court.
Maelyn Bird of Bird & Hiele Legal Service is representing Chite and Hiva.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN