Friday, 4 June 2010 2:32 PM

Government Grants Transfer of former RAMSI Officer to Samoan Prison

A former RAMSI Participating Police Force officer, Misi Matamu, was transferred to a correctional centre in Samoa this week, to serve out his prison sentence in his homeland.

This followed a High Court order endorsing a decision by the Solomon Islands Government to grant a request by the Samoan Government that the convicted man be allowed to serve his sentence in Samoa.

Mr Matamu, a Samoan national, was convicted by the High Court last month after pleading guilty to charges of 'reckless driving occasioning death' and 'endangering the safety of a passenger travelling in a vehicle'.

The charges arose from an accident in June 2008 which led to the death of local nurse, Hilda Ilabae. Although off-duty at the time of the accident, Mr Matamu, was a member of the Participating Police Force, when the accident took place.

The High Court sentenced him to three and a half years jail on 21 May.

The Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), Peter Marshall, said that permission for the prisoner's transfer was granted by the Solomon Islands Government and then formally endorsed by the High Court last week.

"Following an application by the Government of Samoa, the High Court of Solomon Islands ordered that the prisoner be allowed to serve out his sentence in a correctional institution in his homeland," he said.

The Solomon Islands Correctional Services Act provides for prisoners who are not citizens of Solomon Islands to be transferred to their country of nationality upon the request of their government.

Following the High Court order, Mr Matamu was transported on Tuesday to Henderson Airport and handed over to Samoan authorities for immediate transfer to Tai Fan Gaita Prison in Samoa.