19 Aug 2016

Conspiracy guilty verdicts shows strength of judiciary

From , 5:03 am on 19 August 2016

A Melanesian governance expert says a Supreme Court ruling that eleven former Vanuatu MPs are guilty of conspiracy shows the strength and independence of the country's judiciary.

The MPs were already serving jail terms after last year being found guilty of bribery for receiving money to cross the floor of parliament and change the government.

The charges of conspiring to defeat the course of justice were laid after the then speaker Marcelino Pipite pardoned himself and his colleagues of the bribery convictions while the President was overseas.

Australian National University Policy Fellow James Batley told Jo O'Brien the convictions demonstrate the underlying resilience of Vanuatu's constitutional systems, and the current government should be wary of making reforms that could have unintended consequences.

Vanuatu Supreme Court entrance.

Vanuatu Supreme Court entrance. Photo: RNZI / Jamie Tahana