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Monday, October 02, 2006

Solomon Islands Attorney General hides from police and owes hotel bills in PNG

By Clifford Faiparik

Solomon Island’s attorney-general Julian Moti escaped Papua New Guinea police on Saturday while awaiting extradition orders from Australia. Moti was arrested by PNG detectives at the Jackson Airport last Friday following a request by the Australian government.
A photocopy of Solomons Attorney-General Julian Moti’s cancelled Australian passport

He is wanted by Australian police for a child sex offence in Vanuatu. A Fijian-Indian, Moti was to have appeared for a special court hearing last Saturday, but failed to turn up.

Chief magistrate Allan Kopi has issued a warrant of arrest for Moti. His whereabouts could not be ascertained last night, but rumours had it that he had boarded an aircraft for Bougainville en route to the Solomon Islands. Moti holds an Australian passport.

Police said Moti did not pay his bills at the Airways Hotel when he escaped and, also, that he had booked in under his lawyer Peter Pena’s name.

Earlier on, Moti had failed to appear before a special court hearing upon being released from the Boroko cells last Friday at about 7pm where he had been held for 10 hours. Mr Pena, for Moti, had also turned up before the hearing and insisted that police return his client’s bag that was confiscated at the time of his arrest. Mr Pena had claimed that his client was a sick man and wants his bag to get his medicines and clothes. However, police officers told Mr Pena to bring his client to court which, despite an assurance from the legal counsel, did not eventuate.

Police also claimed that Deputy Prime Minister Don Polye had ordered the release of Moti from custody, explaining that the tussle to have Moti extradited to Australia is between the Solomon Islands and Australian governments. A warrant for Moti’s arrest has been issued.

The Australian High Commission in PNG had also cancelled Moti’s passport to prevent him from leaving PNG. Moti is wanted by the Australian government for charges of raping a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997. Moti was acquitted by a Vanuatu jury and later settled a civil action taken against him by the victim’s family.

However, the Australian government said in a statement that the 41-year-old was wanted for child sex offences because, under Australia’s child sex laws, all Australians are to stand trial for any offences committed within or outside the country.

Source: The PNG National

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