13 Oct 2005

Solomons defendant in Saki murder trial turns crown witness

5:00 pm on 13 October 2005

One of nine defendants charged in a Solomon Islands murder trial has decided to become a crown witness and the charges against him have been dropped.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation says the Crown prosecutor Robert Barry told the court that

Jackson Olea would now give evidence.

He was one of nine charged with kidnap and murder of Guadalcanal militant leader Selwyn Saki in 2001.

The surprise move means that charges against Olea may be dropped.

The trial has been deferred several times this week and is now scheduled to get underway today.

Mr Saki was taken from his village at Ngalimbiu in North Guadalcanal, tortured and killed at Mount Austin near Honiara.

The trial is expected to last 40 days.