To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Moti appears in Honiara magistrate court today

The suspended attorney general Julian Moti has challenged the impartiality of an Australian magistrate to hear charges against him.

Mr Moti appeared in the Honiara Magistrate court today charged with entering Solomon Islands without a passport and without an exemption to enter without a permit.

He was arrested yesterday with two other men after they allegedly flew into Munda on a Papua New Guinea defence aircraft.

His lawyer, Charles Ashley asked the magistrate John Myers to disqualify himself from hearing the charges because his salary is paid by the Australian government through RAMSI. Mr Ashley said the perception would be that the magistrate would not be impartial.

Mr Myers rejected the argument and said he found it astonishing. He said he was an Australian citizen but a judicial officer, appointed by the Solomon islands government and it would be irrational to suggest he might be influence by the Australian government.

Mr Ashley said the matter would be appealed to the High Court. Moti was remanded in custody to appear again in two weeks. Two others, charged in connection with the secret flight into Munda were released on bail.

Source: SIBC

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