10 Oct 2006

Solomons aviation officials say Moti flight was breach of regulations

4:10 pm on 10 October 2006

Solomon Islands Civil Aviation will be protesting to the government for not informing them of the plane carrying the suspended Attorney General Julian Moti from Papua New Guinea into the country.

Mr Moti is wanted by Australia for alleged child sex offences in Vanuatu in 1997 but his case was dismissed by the Vanuatu courts.

The Controller of Civil Aviation in Solomon Islands, Bill Macgregor, says the plane carrying Mr Moti was on the ground for only four or five minutes before flying out of Munda airport.

Mr Macgregor says the plane used was believed to be a French-made Casa 235 only to be found in region in New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea as military aircraft.

He says no clearance was obtained from Civil Aviation to use Solomon Islands airspace which is in breach of international aviation regulations.

Mr Moti, who had his Australian passport cancelled, had been hiding in the Solomon Islands High Commission in PNG's capital Port Moresby after jumping bail to avoid being returned to Australia.

Australia's foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer says Australia will continue to pursue Mr Moti.

"In this country, we regard child sex charges as an extraordinarily serious matter and we will continue to lobby the Solomon Islands government to get this person handed over so he can face justice in Australia."

Alexander Downer