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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Evidence before PNGDF Inquiry suggests Moti was 'not cleared' by Vanuatu courts in 1997

By Julia Dai Bore

Legal documents obtained by the Papua New Guinea Defence Force Board of Inquiry suggest that fugitive Julian Moti was “not cleared” by the Vanuatu Courts on child sex charges in 1997.

PNG Inquiry Chairman Justice Gibbs Salika said yesterday that evidence before the inquiry suggested Moti was “not cleared” by the courts.

It is understood after Moti was arrested on Sept 29, last year in Port Moresby after arriving from Singapore, politicians including Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and his deputy Don Polye called for Moti to be released and allowed a clear passage to the Solomon Islands. They stated that there were no legal grounds to detain and extradite Moti to Australia.

However, after going through legal documents made available to the PNGDF board of inquiry, Justice Salika said the evidence spoke otherwise.

“The evidence is contrary. He has not been cleared by the Vanuatu courts,” Justice Salika said yesterday.

One of the documents before the Defence inquiry which suggest that Moti had not been freed by the Vanuatu courts is the statement in support of request for provisional arrest of Moti. The document before the inquiry, dated Sept 28, 2006, gives details of Moti and also states the alleged offences which could land Moti up to 17 years jail in Australia if he is found guilty. The warrant of arrest was issued on Aug 11, 2006, from Australia within Section 50AD of the Crimes Act 1914 (Commonwealth) by GB Pitt, acting magistrate. The Australian request was based on fresh evidences, which suggested that the Vanuatu magistrate hearing the case was allegedly sponsored by Moti to study at an Australian University in Sydney following the dismissal of the Moti sex charges.

The Vanuatu magistrate had based the dismissal on the basis that the complainant was not under the age of 13 years as required by section 97(1). The case was dismissed on Aug 23, 1999. The document before the Defence inquiry gives full details of the allegations of the child sex offences committed by Moti in Vanuatu between May 1997 and Oct 25 1997.

Source: PNG National

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