17 Nov 2010

Lusibaea in limbo over impending Solomons sentence

4:09 pm on 17 November 2010

A spokesperson for the Solomon Islands government says the Minister of Fisheries Jimmy Lusibaea will legally be forced to leave parliament if he receives a sentence of six months or more after pleading guilty to assault.

The North Mailata MP has been remanded in custody and is awaiting sentencing next Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges of assault causing grievous bodily harm and assaulting a police officer during the ethnic crisis.

The Prime Minister's press secretary Alfred Sasako says legally an MP must automatically leave parliament if they receive a prison sentence of six months or more, and a by-election would be held.

But he says it's too soon to speculate whether Mr Lusibaea will be dismissed as a minister if he receives a lesser sentence.

"Everyone is guilty of some wrongs, however small or big at some point in their life and the honourable member of North Malaita ought to be given some credibility in the fact that although he is a minister he has admitted to the wrong."

Alfred Sasako says the coalition would not be destabilised if Mr Lusibaea leaves parliament.