8 Apr 2005

Trial of Malaitan ex-militants in Solomons hears from fresh prosecution witness

10:20 am on 8 April 2005

The second high profile trial of former militants continues in the Solomon Islands High Court today with the second prosecution witness expected to be cross-examined by the defence.

The former Malaita militants, Patterson Saeni and Eddie Iro'ota, are charged with the murder of Samani Ramo, whilst he was held in jail in 2000.

The former militant commander, Jimmy Rasta Lusibaea, is charged with assault in connection with the same incident.

The second witness, Richard Aiga, told the court yesterday he was the third suspect that members of the Malaita Eagle Force identified and arrested in Auki for the burning of its offices in Honiara.

He said he was transported to Honiara in a speedboat and upon arrival was beaten up by some of the MEF big bosses.

Mr Aiga identified jailed former police Superintendent, James Kile, and Jimmy Rasta Lusibaea as being amongst those who had hit him.

He also told the court that he shared a cell with the deceased, Samani Ramo.

The case is expected to continue this morning, with defence lawyers cross-examining Mr Aiga.