1 Jul 2011

Vanuatu minister pleads guilty to charges relating to publisher's assault

9:02 am on 1 July 2011

Vanuatu cabinet minister, Harry Iauko, has pleaded guilty to charges relating to the assault of publisher Marc Neil-Jones.

The Daily Post reports that Senior Magistrate Rita Naviti sentenced the eight men involved in the assault of its publisher with fines ranging up to nearly one thousand US dollars

Mr Iauko, who was recently re-named the public utilities minister, was sentenced to fines totalling nearly 150 US dollars for aiding and abetting damage to property and for aiding and abetting intentional assault.

Three charges of unlawful assembly, unlawful entry and criminal trespass were withdrawn by the State Prosecutor after he pleaded not guilty.

In her decision the judge said Mr Iauko pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the commission of two offences because he feels responsible for the action of his supporters and omitted to prevent them from going that far.

She said he has cooperated with the investigation.