Monday, 6 August 2007 9:57 AM

Hooton Ignorant of Australian Law, says Sogavare

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has dismissed claims made by the Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Peter Hooton, that Moti will face trial if extradited to Australia.

Mr. Sogavare said no charges were laid on Mr. Moti, disputing reports he was going to face trial once deported to Australia.

Mr Hooton had earlier explained that a Brisbane magistrate has issued a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Moti and based on the warrant, the Australian Government has requested the Solomon Islands Government extradite Mr. Moti.

Mr. Sogavare described Mr. Hooton as being "ignorant of Australian law" adding Mr. Moti, after he gets charged, will face a committal proceeding to determine whether sufficient evidence exists for him to be committed for trial.

He said the evidence that Australia is relying on is no different to that presented to a Vanuatu court in 1999, dismissed by a Senior Magistrate because there was no credible evidence to justify Mr. Moti's trial.

Mr. Sogavare said that the difference between the evidence in 1999 and today is the manipulation of the witnesses' statements by the Australian authorities, "committing a fraud and grossly violating the Attorney General's constitution and legal rights".

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province