12 Aug 2003

Suspended Marshall Islands Chief Justice absent from own trial

6:12 am on 12 August 2003

The suspended chief justice of the Marshall Islands, Charles Henry, has failed to appear for his trial on charges of misusing government money.

Henry, who is a US citizen, has asked for a delay because of life threatening health problems and his inability to hire a lawyer now that he cannot find work as a judge in California.

The Palau Supreme Court Justice, Arthur Ngiraklsong, who flew to Majuro for the trial, has rejected the requests, saying they are logically flawed.

He says Henry refused the services of the Marshall Islands public defender while failing to substantiate his medical claim.

The government prosecutor is now looking into the next step to extradite the suspended chief justice.