Thursday, 6 December 2007 3:28 PM

Prominent Leaders Supportive of Sir Allan

Prominent leaders have voiced their support of Sir Allan Kemakeza for the outstanding service he has given to the nation, in light of criminal charges against him.

The Honiara Magistrates Court, in October, found the former Prime Minister, Sir Allan, guilty of demanding money with menace, intimidation and larceny.

Sir Allan was this morning sentenced to two months imprisonment.

Presiding Magistrate, Chris Vaas, said leniency in Sir Allan's sentencing was taking into consideration the "highly supportive" distinguished referees who stressed on Sir Allan's lead role in bringing peace to a troubled nation.

In their mitigation, each commended Sir Allan for his principle role in the Townsville Peace Accord, the introduction of RAMSI and the return of peace to Solomon Islands.

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.

Mr. Warner pointed out the irony that the defendant was "the principal proponent for an intervention [of RAMSI] which was bound to eventually expose all wrongdoing, including his own".

Notwithstanding possible harm to himself, Sir Allan resolutely followed the course of bringing RAMSI into the country.

Another statement on oath in support of the defendant was Mr. John Sullivan, a senior partner of Sol Law, the victim of the offences.

Mr. Sullivan told the court that at the time of the offending, his law firm was trustee for 52% of the shares in [the National Bank of Solomon Islands], and he was Chairman of the bank.

He said that there was a general view in the community that Sol Law owned the bank, there was a lot of political opposition to his law firm and it was extremely unpopular in the community.

Mr. Sullivan told the court that the defendant should be given prime credit for bringing RAMSI into the country at great risk to himself, and the resulting peace was the reason why Sol Law was able to remain in business.

Presiding Magistrate Vaas said that it is the first in 28 years on the bench for a victim to speak in support of a defendant.

He added that since the commission of the offences, the defendant has continued to be constructive and productive in the role of Prime Minister and deputy Speaker of Parliament.

"... the defendant has no prior convictions and there was no personal gain to the defendant from the commission of these offences," Magistrate Vass said.

The Honiara Magistrates Court handed a 'relatively low' period of imprisonment given the "very strong mitigating factors in favour of [the] defendant".

Meanwhile, Sir Allan was granted bail pending the outcome of an appeal to his court sentence.