15 Sep 2004

Vanuatu prime minister to face court for contempt

1:45 pm on 15 September 2004

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Serge Vohor could be jailed for up to a year and face a hefty fine if he is convicted of contempt.

Mr Vohor is to appear in the Supreme Court on Friday to answer the charge after he made disparaging comments in Parliament about the chief justice Vincent Lunabek.

The Prime Minister, speaking after Parliament was ordered by the Supreme Court to allow a vote of no confidence, had accused the courts of bowing to foreign influence.

He also called Mr Lunabek a "pikanini blong white man" or the white man's child.

The Deputy Public Prosecutor, Johnwilliam Timakata, says the Prime Minister has been summoned to show cause why he should not be committed for contempt.