17 Jan 2011

Solomon Islands opposition condemns release of MP Jimmy Lusibaea

2:42 pm on 17 January 2011

The Solomon Islands opposition has condemned the decision to release the North Malaita MP Jimmy Lusibaea from prison, less than two months after he was sentenced on assault charges.

The former fisheries minister was sentenced to a two year and nine month jail term at the end of November, after pleading guilty to counts of unlawfully wounding another person and assaulting a police officer during the ethnic tensions.

His lawyer, Charles Ashley told the Solomon Star newspaper that the Parole Board had released Lusibaea on licence on Friday.

Mr Ashley, who will represent Lusibaea in a review of his case which is scheduled to come before the High Court next month, would not comment further on his client's release.

The acting opposition leader Matthew Wale says he will seek legal advice to ensure Lusibaea's release is revoked.

He says the Opposition believes the head of correctional services was under pressure to recommend the early release to the parole board, and the decision bears all the hallmarks of political manipulation of the legal and justice system.