Thursday, 6 December 2007 2:17 PM

Honiara Magistrates Court Sentences Former Prime Minister

The Honiara Magistrates Court this morning sentenced former Prime Minister and MP for Savo-Russell islands, Sir Allan Kemakeza, to two months imprisonment.

On a total head sentence of 5 months imprisonment, Presiding Magistrate Vaas, in view of the defendant's outstanding service to the nation both before and since the commission of the offences, ordered that Sir Allan be released after serving two months of the sentence.

Magistrate Vaas said the balance of the sentence, namely three months, be suspended for a period of 12 months.

Sir Allan was given three months to pay SBD$7,500 for three counts he was convicted of, and was warned that default of payment will result in three months imprisonment.

"The period of imprisonment [is] ... relatively low given the very strong mitigating factors in favour of this defendant," Magistrate Vaas said.

Magistrate Vaas last month found Sir Allan guilty of demanding money with menace, intimidation and larceny, committed during the ethnic tension when he was Prime Minister.

The court was to hand its sentence on Monday but deferred the date so it could consider mitigation by prominent leaders both local and overseas.

Among those who provided mitigation are the Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia, Sir Ellison Pogo, and two former Special Coordinators of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Nick Warner and James Bartley.

In handing down the sentence today, Presiding Magistrate Vass said the defendant was Prime Minister during the most difficult period of the nation's history, and apart from the offences before the Court, Sir Allan performed his difficult task with distinction.

"He must be given credit for that along with the other mitigating factors referred to," Magistrate Vaas stated.

Meanwhile, Sir Allan is out on SBD$1,000 bail pending the outcome of an appeal by his lawyer against the Court's decision, which found the former Prime Minister guilty of the charges.

Sir Allan, however, said he is happy with the outcome of the court's "fair judgement".

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