1 Sep 2006

Solomons Opposition slams Prime Minister for attack on judiciary

5:29 pm on 1 September 2006

The Solomon Islands Opposition says the Prime Minister is trying to influence the judiciary.

Manasseh Sogavare has described court proceedings surrounding the Commission of Inquiry into the April riots in Honiara as a judicial farce.

Mr Sogavare says the judiciary has succumbed to the dictates of foreign influence and is no longer independent.

But the opposition leader, Fred Fono, described the attack as dictatorial and interfering, saying the Prime Minister's comments could amount to contempt of court.

Mr Fono says the Opposition held an urgent meeting in Honiara today to discuss Mr Sogavare's outburst.

"We were very concerned about the way the Prime Minister is trying to influence the judiciary, it's not acceptable to us because the judiciary should be independent of the executive."

Mr Fono also accused Mr Sogavare of racism after he indicated the judiciary was being influenced by overseas judges appointed to the bench.