17 Feb 2005

Solomons murder suspect asks for interview evidence to be disallowed

9:21 pm on 17 February 2005

A defence lawyer in the Solomon Islands High Court trial into the killing of Cabinet Minister, Fr Augustine Geve, wants a police interview with his client excluded as evidence.

James Godbolt of the Public Solicitors office made the application on behalf of Ronnie Cawa, who has been charged with the murder along with Harold Keke and Francis Lela.

Police interviewed Cawa onboard the HMAS Manoora on 12 August 2003, the day Harold Keke surrendered to the Regional Asssistance Mission or RAMSI.

Mr Godbolt says that the admission by Cawa in the interview was not voluntary.

He told the court that the defence position is that there were inducements offered by the police in relation to the safety and freedom of Cawa.

Mr Godbolt said that Cawa was unaware of the true nature of why police were speaking with him, and he was effectively detained without being properly informed of the reasons and basis for this detention.

Meanwhile a New Zealand Detective Sergeant has described Ronnie Cawa as "very happy and enthusiastic and willing to talk" before he was interviewed.

Detective Sergeant Darren Folau, who was serving with the RAMSI Police conducted the interview with Cawa and said he appeared very happy and enthusiastic and willing to talk.

The application continues tomorrow morning.