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Monday, May 15, 2006

Government Lawyers concern over PM's comments

The Government Lawyers Association had raised concern over what its describes as unfair attacks by the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on the Director of Public Prosecutions, a constitutional post holder while shielding under parliamentary privilege.

Chairman of the Association, Ronald Bei Talasasa says at its meeting yesterday, the GLA raised deep concern about the call by the Prime Minister for the Director of Public Prosecutions to resign and be investigated for allegations made against him.

Mr Talasasa points out that the office of the DPP is a constitutional one.

He says as such it is not subject to the direction of any person or even the head of Government.

Mr Talasasa says in cases where allegations of bias or impropriety against a presiding officer or over ethical issues involving the DPP or any constitutional post holder, parliament is not the appropriate forum to raise those issues.

He says the holder of the DPP office is a member of the Legal Profession whose conduct is regulated by the Legal Practioner's Act.

Mr Talasasa says any allegation against any member of the legal profession should be referred to the Chief Justice, or the Solomon Islands Bar Association.

He says they could also be raised as a point of appeal if it relates to a particular case,in a higher court but not in Parliament.

The GLA chairman says the independence of the judiciary in Solomon Islands is guaranteed.

But he says, if the public has any complaint against a member of the Judiciary, there are established avenues through which they could be dealt with.

Mr Talasasa also points out that such statements by the Prime Minister accusing the DPP of improper conduct could be a subject of defamatory proceedings had the Prime Minister made such statements outside Parliament.

News source: SIBC Online http://www.sibconline.com.sb/main.asp

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