11 Jul 2005

Former Solomons militia commander and policeman convicted on serious charges

10:30 am on 11 July 2005

A former police officer and a militia commander in Solomon Islands have been convicted on charges relating to grievous bodily harm and murder

Former commander of the disbanded Malaita Eagle Force militia group, Jimmy Rasta was convicted on a charge of grievous bodily harm and his former fellow commander Patteson Saeni has been convicted on charges of murder and grievous bodily harm.

The presiding judge said there was insufficient evidence to convict a third man Eddley Iro'ota on charges of murder and grievous bodily harm.

The charges relate to the assault of Colin Hagi jnr at Central Police Station in Honiara on November 2000 and the murder of Samani Ramo at Rove Prison on the same day.

All three men were arrested in October 2003.

Saeni and Iro'ota are former members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police force.

The Commander of the RAMSI Participating Police Force, Sandi Peisley described the convictions as a demonstration of the continued commitment of RAMSI to the process of restoration of law and order in Solomon Islands.

She said the verdicts show the rule of law is fair and demonstrates to the community that police officers are not above the law.