26 Oct 2006

Raid on Solomon Islands prime minister's office illegal says lawyer

7:08 pm on 26 October 2006

A new legal advisor to the Solomon Islands government claims the recent police raid on one of the prime minister's offices was illegal.

Roger de Robillard, a Sydney lawyer recently hired by the government, says Australians working in the Solomons must respect the law of the country.

The police say they acted lawfully and the warrant allowed them to search for and seize a fax machine and other documentation in the office of one of Manasseh Sogavare's staff.

The raid was part of the investigation into the suspended Attorney General Julian Moti's smuggling into the country without a valid passport.

But Mr De Robillard says his advice is it was unlawful.

"The legal advice that I've had, and its quite obvious from English law, that that search warrant is unlawful in any event. It's in breach of SI law."

Mr de Robillard says Australia needs to ensure that the so-called experts its sends to Pacific countries uphold the principles of the rule of law.