9 Nov 2017

Solomons' Sae acquitted of murder, convicted for manslaughter

4:20 pm on 9 November 2017

The former policeman Edmond Sae has been acquitted of the murder of the Solomon Islands Police Commissioner Sir Frederick Soaki in 2003.

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Photo: RNZ/Koroi Hawkins

However, Sae has been convicted of manslaughter for another death two months later and sentenced to twenty years in prison.

Yesterday Sae was dismissed on the charge of having ecaped from police custody after being detained over Sir Frederick's murder in February 2003.

Howard Lawry of the Public Solicitor's office, who defended Sae, said the judge found there was insufficient evidence that Sae was the killer.

"The judge carefully analysed all the evidence in relation to identification, and has determined there was no sufficient identification evidence."

Explaining the manslaughter charge, Mr Lawry says that in April 2003 Sae had a disagreement with officers at Auki Police Station in Malaita over their treatment of him.

"He then went back to his vehicle for about five minutes and then came and shot up the police station. He had warned the police to make sure hat everyone was out. There was a prisoner who was somewhere in the building other than the cells who happened to get a bullet."

Mr Lawry says the incident was not a shootout, as has been described by local media, but the firing of a weapon at a building.

The lawyer indicated he would expect Sae to appeal the manslaughter sentence.

Sae was also sentenced to six months imprisonment for the possession of a pistol, the charge of which he pleaded guilty.

The accused had already served more than two years in custody in remand after being recaptured in 2015 after being out of contact with authorities for a number of years.

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