6 Jan 2015

Possible reshuffle for Solomons Police Minister

2:37 pm on 6 January 2015

The new Solomon Islands Police Minister, Peter Shanel, may be reshuffled to another ministry because of an assault case against him before the Honiara Central Magistrates Court.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare congratulates Peter Shanel after taking his oath as Minister for Police. Looking on is the new finance minister Snyder Rini.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare congratulates Peter Shanel after taking his oath as Minister for Police. Looking on is the new finance minister Snyder Rini. Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

Mr Shanel was charged in October for allegedly assaulting a constituent who is understood to have been seeking financial assistance from the MP for Central Guadalcanal.

The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has since defended his decision saying Mr Shanel is innocent until proven guilty but conceded that he may reassign the portfolio.

"I might reshuffle him to another ministry, not to the ministry of police. It's not, doesn't look good for a minister of police to be eventually locked up. I think he needs to be moved to another ministry so that if the case goes through, at least he is a minister of another ministry."

In 2008, Peter Shanel was convicted and jailed for nine months for assault and possession of an illegal weapon, losing his seat in Parliament.

Speaking after his swearing-in last month, Mr Shanel said he was surprised to have been made police minister and expressed a preference for the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

He was made the Foreign Minister after the 2010 election but was sacked in 2012.