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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Solomons prisoners end hunger strike after urgent review of delayed cases completed

Eight of the ten Rove inmates who went on a hunger strike on Monday started eating again at lunch time yesterday after the Solomon Islands Chief Justice has taken action to ensure their cases are immediately reviewed.

The inmates at Rove Prison in Honiara embarked on the hunger strike because of the length of time it has taken for their cases to be brought to trial, and some of them want judgment on their cases expedited.

Meanwhile, the Registrar of High Court Nelson Laurere has confirmed yesterday that the urgent review ordered by the Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer has been completed.

The Chief Justice, Sir Albert on Tuesday directed that all cases involving prisoners who are protesting about court delays be urgently reviewed.

As a result the Court's Case Listing Committee met Tuesday evening and, as a result, all but one of the trials involving these prisoners were fixed for hearing.

Mr Laurere says the remaining case was given lower priority because the prisoner is already serving a life sentence for murder which has been confirmed on appeal. He says a number of other trials involving other prisoners were also listed.

The Committee, consisting of the Chief Justice, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Public Solicitor, also confirmed that the High Court would continue to focus on clearing the substantial backlog of criminal trials where the accused is in custody. It says this may result in some delays in cases where the accused is free on bail.

Source: Radio Australia & SIBC

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