12 Nov 2002

Judge throws out three of seven charges of cheating by Marshall Islands chief justice

10:38 am on 12 November 2002

Suspended Marshall Islands Chief Justice, Charles Henry, has gained dismissal of nearly half the cheating charges against him and has won the freedom to leave the Marshall Islands.

Three of the seven counts of cheating were dismissed by presiding judge, Arthur Ngiraklsong of Palau who said the government had not provided one iota of evidence to support them.

He also ruled that the Attorney General's order preventing Henry from leaving the Marshalls was illegal and ordered that two pay checks held by the Ministry of Finance be immediately released to the suspended chief justice.

The judge ruled that Henry, an American, should be released on his own recognizance provided he signed a waiver allowing his extradition from the US should he not return for trial in mid-January.

The cheating charges allege that the suspended chief justice used more than 14 thousand dollars of government money for unauthorised travel.