26 Sep 2003

Appeal hearing in Auckland for Cook Islands senior civil servant

10:25 am on 26 September 2003

An appeal case involving the Cook Islands most senior civil servant will be heard in Auckland this morning.

The special sitting is being held to hear an application from Edward Drollett.the former chief of staff in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Mr Drollett wants to have his fraud and forgery case heard by a jury but has been blocked by Justice Norman Smith in the High Court.

Justice Smith refused trial by jury after Mr Drollett entered three different pleas when the case first came to trial in Rarotonga earlier this year.

Mr Drollett was arrested on fraud and forgery charges after an investigation assisted by New Zealand's Serious Fraud Office.

He is the most senior public servant to be charged since the fly-in voters case in the late seventies.