THE witness in the fraud trial of the outgoing MP for Savo/Russell Constituency, Dickson Mua, is a foreign national.
The witness is Albert Wong, owner of Honiara-based Oceanic Marine Ltd.
Director of Public Prosecutions, Ronald Bei Talasasa said this is what is important for our citizens to understand.
Talasasa made this clarification after he noticed and heard a number of citizens expressing much reservation over the discharge of Mua.
“That is expected and I understand their concerns,” Talasasa said.
“What is important for people to understand, especially our citizens is that the witness is a foreign national.
“The witness is back in his own country and so he is subject to the application of the laws of his country.
“We cannot just fly over to Australia and oblige him to return to Solomon Islands, nor can we oblige him through police networking or cooperation to testify through video link.
“Australia has its own laws that regulate how a witness can be required by another country.
“We are all sovereign states and have our own laws that regulate our own processes,” Talasasa added.
He further stated that in the case of the witness, that is required to testify in our court or even to testify through video link.
“The only way that is available for them is to utilise the process under the Mutual Assistance Act, and that is to request the Attorney General (AG) of Australia to send the witness back to Solomon Islands or have him testify through video link.
“Whereas for Australia, the law that regulates is the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987 (Cth).
“Section 26(2) of the Australia Law (i.e. Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987, CTH), provides that in order to make arrangements for the travel of the witness to the requesting country, the AG must first be satisfied that the person has consented to giving evidence in the requesting country.
“In compliance with the laws that govern such a situation, the Solomon Islands Attorney General sent a formal request to his counterpart in Australia for the witness, either to be returned or testify through video link.”
The DPP said the witness refused to either return to Solomon Islands to testify or to testify through video link.
He further added that when that happens the Attorney General of Australia could not do anything further.
“There is nothing more we can do.
“That is why the matter was discontinued until the witness returns to Solomon Islands or changes his mind and becomes willing to testify through video link
“The authorities in Solomon Islands will wait,” Talasasa said.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN