19 Feb 2005

Ronnie Cawa confessed to murder of Solomon Islands minister, court told

6:13 am on 19 February 2005

A court has been told that one of three former militants accused of killing the Solomon Islands cabinet minister, Father Augustine Geve, has confessed to his murder.

Ronnie Cawa has been charged, along with Harold Keke and Francis Lela, of killing Father Geve on the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal on the 20th of August, 2002.

The High Court in Honiara yesterday heard an audio tape of a police interview with Cawa, in which he admits killing Father Geve.

Cawa said it was he who used a self-loading rifle to shoot the minister in the chest.

Cawa said that after Father Geve became an MP in South Guadalcanal he stole money from the people.

The defence lawyer for Cawa, James Godbolt, said the interview shouldn't be admitted as evidence.

Mr Godbolt questioned how Cawa came to be in police custody on the day of the interview, the 13th of August 2003, saying there had been no arrest warrant served on his client that day.

The trial, which has now heard from 30 prosecution witnesses, continues.