2 Oct 2006

Solomons AG fails to appear in PNG court

4:03 pm on 2 October 2006

The Solomon Islands' new attorney-general, who is wanted by Australian police over an alleged child sex offence, remains at large after failing to appear in court in Papua New Guinea today.

Julian Moti, who is an Australian lawyer, was arrested at Port Moresby's Jackson's airport on Friday off a flight from Singapore at the request of the Australian government.

PNG police and Mr Moti's lawyer have said they do not know where Moti is.

Mr Moti's arrest, related to an alleged child sex offence in Vanuatu in 1997, has inflamed already strained relations between Canberra and the Solomons.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said the arrest was a serious violation by Australia of Solomons sovereignty.

It is not known why Australian police chose to act against Mr Moti now, nine years after the alleged offence.