11 Oct 2006

Julian Moti held by police on his return to Solomon Islands

11:12 am on 11 October 2006

The fugitive Australian lawyer, Julian Moti, who fled from Papua New Guinea to Solomons islands early yesterday has been flown to Honiara by police chartered helicopter.

Mr Moti had been questioned throughout yesterday by immigration officials in Munda in Western Province after flying in on what is believed to have been an unauthorised PNG Defence Force flight.

Senior PNG officials have denied knowledge of the military flight.

Mr Moti, who was recently appointed and then suspended as Solomons attorney-general, is wanted by Australian authorities over alleged sex offences against a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997.

He has been hiding in the Solomon Islands High Commission in the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby after jumping bail to avoid being returned to Australia.

Canberra had earlier cancelled his Australian passport.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says the Government has indicated he is likely to be charged

"From what we understand from the Foreign Affairs minister he will be taken into detention and I think formal charges laid against him for travelling without proper documentation."