Thursday, 11 August 2011 8:20 AM

Defamation Claim Hearing Deferred, Sasako Absent

Hearing into the defamation claim against Prime Minister Danny Philip and his former press secretary Alfred Sasako did not proceed yesterday because Mr Sasako failed to turn up.

Mr Sasako, who had been informed of the trial by his lawyer since July this year, is reportedly in Brisbane Australia.

Andrew Radclyffe, who represents Mathew Wale in the claim, sought the hearing to be adjourned because he wants to cross-examine Sasako's sworn statement.

Mr Radcliffe said the fact that Sasako is in Brisbane knowing the hearing was to be held today, shows irresponsibility on his part to the High Court.

The lawyer said Sasako's evidence is crucial to the proceedings of the hearing and therefore he needs to be present in Court.

Meanwhile, Sasako's legal representative Nuatalie Tongarutu told the Court her client will return to the country by the end of this week.

She confirms informing Mr Sasako of the trial.

Ms Tongarutu further told the Court she had tried to contact him at the beginning of this week but was not successful.

Chief Justice Albert Palmer adjourned the trial and ordered Mr Sasako to be present in Court when the hearing resumes on the 22nd of this month.

Mathew Wale had filed the claim in February this year following the publication of a so called "intelligence report" which claimed he was involved with RAMSI and Australia to topple the current Danny Philip-led Government.

Meanwhile, Mr Sasako, who arrived back in Honiara yesterday, said that he was never told of the case being scheduled for hearing.

He apologized to the Chief Justice for not turning up in court.

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