6 Dec 2002

Vanuatu prosecutors says no room for convicted mutineers in police force

12:15 pm on 6 December 2002

The Vanuatu public prosecutor says the four senior police, who were given two-year suspended sentences for mutiny yesterday, should not be allowed to remain in the force.

The four are the former acting commissioner Holi Simon, former commander of the Vanuatu Mobile Force, Api Jack Marikembo, former assistant commissioner Paul Willie Reuben and district commander Eric Pakoa.

They were convicted of mutiny, inciting mutiny, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

While the crimes carry a maximum life term, the British judge, Roger Coventry, gave them two-year suspended sentences, citing their years of service to the country.

The public prosecutor, Heather Leo Lini, says her office will appeal the sentences.

She says a police board will decide whether the four will face further action, but she says they should not be allowed to continue in the force

"We don't know what type of decision will come up from the disciplinary board but to me these are very serious offences committed by members of the police force because they are disciplined forces they should not be in the police force at all. One of their main duties is to respect their superior."