9 May 2006

Solomons' police minister Dausabea refused bail a third time

8:28 pm on 9 May 2006

The Magistrates Court in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, has refused bail to the country's new Police Minister, Charles Dausabea.

Mr Dausabea, who has been in custody since his arrest two weeks ago, is accused of inciting the riots following the election of Snyder Rini as Prime Minister.

He faces one charge of intimidation, one of threatening to destroy a hotel and one of inciting rioting.

He was controversially appointed police minister last week by the new Prime Minister Mannaseh Sogavare.

Today's bid for bail, in front of a packed courtroom, was Mr Dausabea's third such bid in the past two weeks.

The Magistrates Court agreed to hear a fresh application for bail today after Mr Dausabea's lawyer argued circumstances had changed since his last application.

Lawyer Julian Moti QC, told the court that Mr Dausabea was diabetic and unable to get proper food and medication in prison.

He said the previous bail hearings had not taken this into account.

Mr Moti also said Mr Dausabea also needed to carry out his ministerial duties.

But the magistrate David Chetwynd rejected the application ruling that prison authorities were capable of providing adequate food and medicine.

The magistrate also said that he had serious concerns further offences would be committed if Mr Dausabea was out on bail such as interfering with witnesses and intimidation.