3 Jan 2011

High Court in Solomon Islands refuses application to release Fisheries Minister

11:54 am on 3 January 2011

The High Court in Solomon Islands has refused an application by jailed former Fisheries Minister, Jimmy Lusiba'ea, to be released pending a judicial review of his case.

The application was a civil one where Mr Lusiba'ea's legal Counsel Charles Ashley applied for a writ of Habeas Corpus -an order where the High Court has the power to release a person in custody for reasons of unlawful restraint.

The Solomons Islands Broadcasting Corporation says Mr Ashley based the application on the grounds that the laying of Lusiba'ea's charges and his subsequent prosecution was a breach of the Amnesty Act Provisions and the Constitution Amendment in 2001.

In the ruling yesterday, Judge David Goldsborough refused the application on the grounds that the issue of Amnesty Act and the Constitution amendment had never been included before, after or during Lusiba'ea's trial nor in his sentence appeal.

Therefore he says it cannot be said that Lusiba'ea is unlawfully detained and it would be wrong to order that he be released until his appeal is heard.

However, he accepted that the point can be further argued in a judicial review of the case.

Mr Ashley has told SIBC News that they will prove that Lusiba'ea's imprisonment was unlawful.

Mr Lusiba'ea was jailed in November this year for unlawful wounding and assaulting a police officer on the execution of his duty.

The charges relate to the height of the ethnic crisis in 2000, when he shot a man on both knees and assaulted a police officer who was on duty at the National Referral hospital in Honiara with the butt of a pistol.