7 May 2005

Solomon Islands High Court convicts former top policemen

4:31 am on 7 May 2005

The Solomon Islands High Court has found a former senior police officer guilty of abducting and assaulting a woman, and found another guilty of raping her.

The former Deputy Police Commissioner, Wilfred Akao, was found guilty of the abduction and assault of a woman in the capital, Honiara, in December 1996.

The former Police Superintendent, Michael Anita, was found guilty on three counts of rape, two counts of assault and one charge of abduction.

The High Court was told that Anita had dragged the woman from the Point Cruz Yacht Club into a vehicle driven by Akao.

Justice John Brown heard that the victim was repeatedly punched, rendering her unconscious and when she regained consciousness the woman was raped by Anita.

Judge Brown remanded the two men in custody.

They are due to be sentenced next Tuesday.

The convictions follow a lengthy investigation by the Participating Police Force Professional Standards and Internal Investigations Units.

The Police Commissioner, Shane Castles, described the convictions as milestone in terms of women's rights in Solomon Islands.

Mr Castles says the convictions recorded against the two men should serve to reassure people that those who commit crimes against society will eventually be held to account.