12 Mar 2007

Solomon's chief justice says media criticism on wait for trials is not warranted

5:46 pm on 12 March 2007

The chief justice in Solomon Islands, Sir Albert Palmer, says criticism of the long delays in remand prisoners going to trial and comparisons with the American detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, are unfair.

Newspapers in Honiara have made these comparisons after groups of remand prisoners went on hunger strikes over the delays earlier this month.

The inmates, at least one of whom has been on remand for three years, sent a letter to Sir Albert demanding their trials begin.

The chief justice then instituted an urgent review and the inmates came off their hunger strikes after being notified of trial dates.

Sir Albert says the media needs to be more responsible in its comments and should not be casting an unwarranted slur on the judicial system.

He says the government can only provide so much support, and aid donors do not have bottomless pockets.