10 Feb 2005

Keke trial to hear from former RAMSI police chief

9:21 pm on 10 February 2005

The former top policeman in the Regioanl Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Australian Ben McDevitt, is due to testify in the murder trial of militant leader Harold Keke in the High Court in Honiara tomorrow.

Keke and two associates, Ronnie Cawa and Francis Lela, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Cabinet Minister Father Augustine Geve on a remote beach on the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal on August 20, 2002.

Mr McDevitt was instrumental in convincing Keke to surrender to police in August 2003, just two weeks after the RAMSI intervention began.

The Solomons Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza was also scheduled to testify at the trial, but will now submit a written statement of evidence.

A Weather Coast villager Silas Kaki told the court today he had seen Keke and other armed men at a Weathercoast village on August 20 in 2002, saying he was going to kill Fr Geve, and later confirming he had done so.