23 Feb 2004

Jailed former Solomons Minister pleads guilty to assaulting New Zealand police woman

7:11 pm on 23 February 2004

A former Solomon Islands government minister pleaded guilty to assaulting a New Zealand policewoman in the Honiara Magistrates Court today.

Daniel Fa'afunua, the former Minister of Communications, Aviation and Meteorology, is already serving a three-year jail sentence for extortion.

Fa'afunua pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting policewoman Annelise Nygaard in November last year, as well as one charge of being drunk and disorderly and one of resisting arrest.

The court heard that Fa'afunua punched Ms Nygaard in the chest and grabbed hold of her shirt, ripping buttons from it, when she attended to a late night disturbance with other police officers from the Regional Assistance Mission.

It was told that after being arrested, Fa'afunua kicked Ms Nygaard in the head while travelling in a police car en route to the police station.

As part of a plea-bargaining arrangement, the prosecution dropped three other charges of assault causing actual bodily harm, giving a false name to the police and malicious damage.

Fa'afunua is due to appear in court for sentencing tomorrow (tues) and could face a maximum prison sentence of more than six years.

If sentenced to jail for any of the latest charges, Fa'afunua will also automatically be required to serve a further four-month sentence for previous traffic-related offences that had been suspended in October last year.