2 Jul 2008

Immunity may not apply to Samoa RAMSI officer over fatal Solomons car accident

7:32 pm on 2 July 2008

There are suggestions in Solomon Islands that immunity from prosecution may not apply in a case involving a Samoan policeman who had driven a car which allegedly caused the death of a local nurse last month in Honiara.

The policeman is with the Regional Assistance Mission's police arm, the Participating Police Force.

He and a colleague, off duty and allegedly intoxicated, drove a RAMSI vehicle into the woman.

One of the men, in hospital in Brisbane, last week refused to co-operate with the Solomon Islands police investigation into the accident.

RAMSI's Deputy Special Co-ordinator, Jonathan Austin, says the refusal is disappointing and doesn't help anybody.

Mr Austin says it's possible the driver could be prosecuted under Solomon Islands law, because he was not working at the time of the accident.

"Now it maybe that the Samoan government can exert jurisdiction in this case so the question - now I'm not a lawyer and I know lawyers are looking at it - the question would be that if there is a charge, is that charge to be faced in Solomon Islands because it seems that no immnuity would apply s they would need to face a charge here or the government of Samoa could assert jurisdiction."

Jonathan Austin