22 Feb 2005

Decision on admissibility of evidence in Keke murder trial in Solomon Islands due soon

4:14 pm on 22 February 2005

The Honiara High Court In Solomon Islands is still yet to decide whether to accept two police interviews that yielded confessions from two former militants, facing trial for the murder of Cabinet Minister, Father Augustine Geve.

The two, Ronnie Cawa and Francis Lela, are facing trial alongside Harold Keke for the killing of Fr Geve on the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal in August of 2002.

In Cawa's police interview he admitted the killing, but his lawyer has called for this interview not to be admitted as evidence, because Cawa had not been arrested at the time and did not have a lawyer present.

Lela said in his police interview that Keke, then Cawa shot Fr Geve, but his lawyer is also contesting the admissibility of this evidence, saying it was induced by police.

A spokesperson for the Government, Johnson Honimae, says a decision on whether to accept the police interviews, which are crucial to the murder trial, is likely to be made within the next two days.

"These interviews are very important because this is where confessions are made. Mr Cawa makes a confession in his interview that it was him and Keke that killed Fr Geve, and then Francis Lela also makes a confession when he was interviewed in October 2003 by RAMSI officials, that it was Keke and Cawa that actually killed Father Geve."

Johnson Honimae.

The trial continues.