Friday, 18 June 2010 11:05 AM

Sasako Welcomes Criminal Libel Charges

Intending candidate in the race for East Kwaio parliamentary seat in Malaita, Alfred Sasako, says he is not afraid of threats by Solomon Islands Honorary Consul in Sydney, Sir Dr Trevor Garland to press criminal libel charges against him.

Speaking to SIBC News, Mr Sasako says that if Mr Garland is serious about laying criminal libel charges against him, then he should not "pursue it through the Commissioner of Police, nor the Office of DPP - because it could mean Solomon Islands tax payers are going to fund his case."

He said Mr Garland had threatened court action against him in the past which he never eventuated.

In related news, most, if not all, major newspapers and online publications have been warned by one Dr Susan Merrell against publishing any of Mr. Alfred Sasako's views on issues relating to Sir Dr Trevor Garland.

"Sir Trevor Garland is seeking advice regarding bringing criminal libel charges against Alfred Sasako who he intends to prosecute to the furthest extent of the law.

"Dr Trevor will have no qualms about bringing criminal libel charges against any publication that prints or broadcasts Sasako's defamatory materials," Dr Merrell said in an e-mail copied to all major local newspapers and online publication.

The same e-mail was also copied to the Solomon Islands Police Commissioner Peter Marshall and an advisor at the Solomon Islands Public Prosecutors Office.

Dr Merrell's email went on to say that "given that internet sites are accessible worldwide, Sir Trevor will also lay criminal charges in Australia if appropriate, referring the matter to the Australian Federal Police."

Sasako has slammed the warning saying that it is a "clear violation of my rights to respond."

"In any democracy, there is such a thing as the right of reply and I expect Dr. Merrell to know this," said Mr Sasako.

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