Monday, 7 May 2007 3:32 PM

Lawyer warns of possible compensation for detainees

A private lawyer, Charles Ashley, warns the government that if the High Court finds illegal the detainment of persons by the police there will be a huge compensation payout.

"Many of the detainees were kept in police custody whilst police are carrying out investigations" Mr Ashley said. "Under Solomon Islands law, there is no such thing as holding charge, these citizens' constitutional rights have been breached"

Mr Ashley said that while most of the blame will be on RAMSI officers, it is likely that they will claim immunity and indemnity under the Facilitation Assistance Act. "The legal responsibility would most likely fall on Solomon Islands government, they may be forced to meet the compensation claims from its citizens" said Mr Ashley.

Mr Ashley went on to say that it is important for the government to find a lawful and reasonable course of action in finding ways to address the detention issue.

Mr Ashley says the issue was first brought up with the previous government and he's pleased that the Sogavare-led government is taking lawful and reasonable actions to find ways to address it.

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