28 Aug 2002

Four Vanuatu police commanders in court on mutiny charges

3:18 pm on 28 August 2002

Four Vanuatu police officers this morning made their first appearance in court on mutiny and inciting mutiny charges.

They included the commander of the para military force, the VMF, Api Jack Marikembo.

Reports yesterday said that members of the VMF intended charging 27 police and VMF personnel, but so far only four have been arrested.

One of those expected to be charged was acting police commissioner Holi Simon, but he has been spotted walking around Port Vila today.

The mutiny charges are believed to relate to the arrests earlier this month of 15 senior public officials on seditious conspiracy charges.

Those charges, later struck out, concerned the controversial appointment of a police commissioner in July.

That appointment has since been quashed.

The four in court this morning asked for the arrest warrants to be thrown out but the magistrate declined.

He did though allow for an adjournment requested by the public prosecutor so she could discuss some details with the defence.

The hearing is scheduled to resume about now.