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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Australian man charged for conspiracy to assassinate Solomons PM

By George Herming

An Australian man was arrested and charged in connection to a plot to kill Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Bill Johnson in his 60’s appeared at the Central Magistrates Court this afternoon charged with conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit felony.

The court heard that he conspired with another four people earlier this month to assassinate the Prime Minister Sogavare.

The Prosecution alleged that between the 18th – 23rd January, Mr Johnson along with four others were drinking alcohol at the Honiara City Motel when they conspired to murder Mr Sogavare. The prosecution successfully applied to have Mr Johnson remanded in custody while police investigations continue.

“A conspiracy to murder the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands is a very serious matter, and there is a likelihood that the accused will interfere with witnessed on this case,” the prosecution said.

Mr Johnson was residing at the City Motel when he was arrested yesterday (29th January).

The prosecution said they have three documents so far which points to a “strong case” against the accused. The Prosecution alleged that other people are also implicated in the statements obtained by police, and they are still to be located and apprehended.

Johnson’s lawyer, Patrick Lavery attempted to have the bail application quashed by offering to pay any bail charges for his client.

But presiding magistrate William Seneka turned down the application. Mr Johnson is married to a Malaitan woman and has three children. He will appear again in court on the 7th February.

Source: GCU

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