Wednesday, 29 October 2008 8:12 AM

Not Guilty!

The Honiara Magistrates Court yesterday acquitted Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua of traffic-related charges.

Dr. Sikua was charged for driving under the influence of liquor following his arrest in February, prior to his election as a Member of Parliament.

The charges also accused Doctor Sikua of using abusive language to the police at the time of his arrest.

Dr. Sikua's lawyer Charles Ashley had asked the court to dismiss the case on grounds that for no good reasons, the case against his client were brought to the court after more than a year and at a time when he became the country's Prime Minister.

The Presiding Magistrate William Seneka said that in relation to Section 75 of the Traffic Offense Act, the defendant should have been arrested immediately when the incident first occurred.

He stated that arrest should be made at that time if they assume he was driving under the influence of alcohol. He then said that under such circumstances, the person should have been charged on the time of the arrest or within 14 days after the incident. Presiding Magistrate says the charges were brought too late, ten months after he was arrested.

The Magistrate says Police may have been aggrieved by foul languages Dr. Sikua used against officers who later arrested him.


SOURCE: SIBC

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