Friday, 28 December 2007 10:11 AM

Moti to Face Rape Charge

Solomon Islands' former Attorney-General, Julian Moti, is behind bars in a Brisbane watch-house following his deportation to Australia to face a rape charge.

The Australian government renewed its extradition request for Moti when the new Sikua-led government came to power last week, and provided one-way travel documents for him because his Australian passport had been cancelled.

The controversial lawyer was charged under Australia's Child Sex Tourism Act upon arrival last night.

In Honiara yesterday afternoon, Mr. Moti was escorted by local police and immigration officers to Henderson International Airport and put on a plane to Brisbane.

Supporters, including his parents and lawyers, rallied around him and confronted police at his residence where immigration officials had gone to detain him.

The group angrily maintained that the deportation was illegal because an interim injunction had been obtained against it.

According to his lawyers, "proper deportation procedures had not been followed", with one reportedly stating that "the laws have already been breached".

The flight was kept waiting an hour and half behind its scheduled departure time.

Mr. Moti is being deported to face charges he raped a 13-year-old girl, who was the daughter of a business associate, in Vanuatu in 1997.

He has denied the charges saying they were dismissed in a Vanuatu court and revived by Australian authorities to prevent him becoming Solomon Islands Attorney-General.

Mr. Moti, due to face the Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning, is charged with engaging in sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years of age, an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 17 years in jail.

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