24 Nov 2010

Former Solomons PM Sikua wins defamation case

5:02 pm on 24 November 2010

A Solomon Islands newspaper has lost a defamation case against a former Prime Minister and his secretary and been ordered to pay them more than 14,000 US dollars in damages and legal costs.

The Solomon Star reports that the order stems from an Island Sun front page article, editorial, and cartoon published in 2008 alleging Dr Derek Sikua and Jerry Manele got drunk and misbehaved while attending the UN General Assembly in New York.

The paper claimed Dr Sikua was drunk, threatened his wife with violence and missed a speech to the assembly by the then Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd.

It described Mr Manele as a drinking colleague and criticised him for allowing Dr Sikua to behave in such a drunken manner.

Dr Sikua and Mr Manele denied the allegations and sued the paper and its editor, Priestley Habru, for defamation.

The High Court's Justice David Chetwynd says the claims coudn't be proven.