Tuesday, 2 September 2008 4:08 PM

Samoan RAMSI Officer Charged

The Samoan RAMSI police officer was today formally charged with manslaughter and dangerous driving causing death in relation to the accident that killed Solomon Islands nurse, Hilda Ilabae on the 13th of June 2008.

Police have alleged that the 29-year-old Samoan off-duty RAMSI officer was driving the vehicle that collided with Ms. Hilda Ilibae.

The RAMSI officer appeared in the Honiara Magistrates Court this morning after the Samoan Government confirmed that it would not be asserting jurisdiction in this case.

Under the Facilitation of International Assistance Act which governs RAMSI's presence in Solomon Islands, a contributing country such as Samoa has the option of prosecuting its personnel charged with an offence in Solomon Islands in its own courts.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Johnson Siapu, welcomed Samoa's decision which has cleared the way for the case to be dealt with by the Solomon Islands legal system.

Acting Commissioner Siapu said that the SIPF had worked hard on the investigation.

"Solomon Islands detectives have spoken with many witnesses, and have also travelled to Australia to speak with the other Samoan police officer involved in the incident. A specialist crash scene investigator was also sourced from New Zealand to assist with the investigation," says Acting Commissioner Siapu.

Commissioner Siapu continues to say that a very comprehensive brief of evidence was given to the Director of Public Prosecutions and we have been waiting for the jurisdiction matter to be finalised before we could charge the Samoan in the Solomon Islands.

"When the advice was received this morning that the Samoan Government was not going to assert jurisdiction, the Solomon Islands Police Force immediately arranged for the charges to be laid against the 29-year-old," he said.

Acting Commissioner Siapu said the SIPF appreciated the full cooperation provided by RAMSI during the investigation.

The 29-year-old appeared in the Honiara Magistrates Court today and was bailed to reappear on 1 October 2008.

Arrangements between the Solomon Islands and Samoan Government will permit the 29-year-old to travel to Samoa briefly whilst on bail before he reappears in the Honiara Magistrates Court.

The 29-year-old's travel documents including his passport will be held by the Commissioner of Samoa Police during his brief trip.

Bail conditions imposed today include that the 29-year-old must return from Samoa to Solomon Islands on 29 September 2008, reappear in the Honiara Magistrates Court on the 1st of October 2008, and upon his return must remain at the Guadalacanal Beach Resort and surrender his passport to the Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Police Force.


PRESS RELEASE (POLICE MEDIA UNIT)

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By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province