7 Apr 2005

Prosecution witnesses to give evidence in Solomons trial of ex-militants

10:22 am on 7 April 2005

In Solomon Islands, further prosecution witnesses are expected to appear in the fourth day of the trial of three former Malaita Eagle Force militants in connection with the death of a man at a police station.

Patteson Saeni and Eddie Iro'ota both face charges of murder, over the death of Samani Ramo at police headquarters in Honiara.

Mr Ramo had been questioned over a suspected arson of Malaita Eagle Force offices in Honiara.

The former Malaita Eagle Force commander, Jimmy Rasta Lusibaea, is accused of assault in connection with the incident.

The Crown Prosecutor, Rob Barry, told the court Mr Saeni confessed to his wife, on the night of Mr Ramo's death, that he had killed a prisoner suspected of being involved in the fire.

Mr Barry, told the court that Mr Ramo had been escorted from Malaita unharmed, but had then been beaten up and then shot and killed at Rove Police headquarters.

The first prosecution witness, the former Malaita Provincial member, Colin Hagi, told the court he had also been taken into custody by Malaita Eagle Force members as a suspected arsonist.

Mr Hagi said he and Mr Ramo were both escorted from Auki by plane.

Mr Hagi said he first saw signs of Mr Ramo being beaten at Rove Police headquarters when the deceased appeared bleeding from the face.

The Public Solicitor, Ken Averre began his cross examination of Mr Hagi yesterday and is expected to continue today.