2 Feb 2011

Solomons' Bar Association condemns threat made against parole board chair

2:41 pm on 2 February 2011

The Solomon Islands Bar Association says it condemns any threat made against the chairman of the parole board, despite opposing the board's recommendation to release an MP.

Media reports say the Parole Board's chairman Philip Tegavota has resigned because he's been told his life is under serious threat.

That follows the release of MP Jimmy Lusibaea just a month and a half into a two year nine month jail sentence.

Mr Tegavota has told the SIBC that the former police minister James Tora should have remained in office to explain why the Parole Board had to recommend his release.

The Bar Association's president Rodney Kingmele says that comment lends weight to the feeling that the release was politically influenced.

"The first reaction that I got was that there might be some political undertones in the decision reached, which is why he might have made that comment. As he said the minister is now in the opposition camp, so I guess the chairman might have felt like he was a scapegoat in all of this."

Rodney Kingmele says the Minister's reported decision to also grant Lusibaea a 95 percent remission of his sentence is highly unusual, but could be amended by the Appeal Court.