21 Feb 2007

Solomon Islands newspaper criticised over court coverage

11:00 am on 21 February 2007

The Solomon Islands newspaper, the Solomon Star has been criticised by the High Court for misleading the public and has been warned about commenting on cases currently before the Court.

The Registrar of the High Court, Nelson Laurere said yesterday that any public statement which prejudices a fair trial may well be found to be in contempt of Court and the law provides for severe penalties, including imprisonment, for such matters.

Mr Laurere was referring in particular to a front page article by the Solomon Star concerning a case involving Julian Moti and subsequent letters to the Editor in the paper.

He says it is very important that anyone making or publishing public statements about the results of court cases ensures that they are accurate and the reporting is fair.

Mr Laurere says the suggestion as reported in the Solomon Star that the case brought by Mr Moti was successful is not correct.

He says in fact, the Chief Justice refused leave to Mr Moti to apply for relief under the provisions of the Constitution on the grounds that his rights had been contravened in an earlier case brought before the High Court.