Monday, 5 January 2009 11:39 AM

Sir Allan a Free Man

Dear Sir,

I read with a degree of concern, not so much about the early release of former Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, from prison but about Parliament's action in the passage of the motion which the House passed before it went into the Christmas/New Year recess.

Sir Allan was someone who was humble enough to accept the punishment metted to him on account of his role in the Sol-Law episode in the dark old days.

He had graciously accepted the outcome.

What concerns me deeply is the move by Parliament to secure his position as an MP pending a Court of Appeal's hearing on his case. It's so akin to pre-empting a Court of Appeal decision.

I am concerned because it appears the third arm of government has seen proper by knowingly interferring with another arm of government, that is to say the judiciary.

In my view, parliament has set a very dangerous precdent.

In doing so, the legislature has left the door ajar for compensatory claims by Sir Allan in the event the Court of Appeal dismissed the charges, which in effect meant that Sir Allan should never have been sent to jail in the first place.

Of course I do agree with the principle of presumption of innocence until found guilty [by the court].

This presumption of innocence principle should never have been applied here.

In other words, the matter has left the province [jurisdiction of the legislature and the executive, that is the cabinet] and has been dealt with by the courts.

Why bring in a motion which clearly is a direct interference of the due process of law?

In my humble view, bringing in and passing a motion as Parliament has done is clearly a direct intereference with the work of the judiciary.

I am sure that ordinary folks would be saying quietly in their minds, if Parliament thinks it can deal with these sorts of matters, why allowed the court to deal with it in the first place?

And would the ordinary man and woman on the street be treated in the same way?

Some, rightly or wrongly, must be eagerly wondering whether Solomon Islands is now on the verge of applying a dual legal system for its citizens: one for the ordinary people and the other for elected officials.

I just hope and pray that we don't go beyond what Parliament had done. Doing so will only hold our judiciary to public ridicule.

The conclusion by many is that Parliament had decided to takeover the matter because the judiciary was incompetent to deal it.

Of course everyone, including myself, know that we have one of the finest judiciary in the region.

Allowing politics to rub shoulders with politics will only tarnish the judicary's image and fine tradition.

My view is simply this: Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and God what is God's.

In other words, we should leave what is rightfully a matter for the courts to the courts and what is politics to the floor of the parliament chamber.


Alfred Sasako

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Alfred Sasako and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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