13 Jul 2004

Ten remanded in custody in Vanuatu after first court appearance over ballot box destruction

7:45 pm on 13 July 2004

Ten of 12 people charged over the destruction of ballot boxes on the Vanuatu island of Tanna have been remanded in custody.

The group is alleged to have stolen the boxes from police last Friday then burnt the contents.

The police spokesman, Major Aru Maralau, says the 12 appeared at the Magistrates court on Tanna today and ten were remanded in custody and will face charges of inciting and destruction of property in the Supreme Court.

The other two have been remanded on bail.

Meanwhile the Electoral Commission is still waiting for a decision by the Attorney General on whether it should declare the seat or hold a by election.

And the Chief Electoral Officer, Martin Tete, says he expects to be able to declare the results of last week's poll by Thursday.