5 Apr 2004

Public Solicitor in Solomons says justice system is working well after murder charges dismissed

7:23 am on 5 April 2004

The Solomon Islands Public Solicitor says the High Court's decision to dismiss murder charges against two men accused of beheading an Australian missionary show the country's justice system is up to scratch.

Lance Gersbach was killed last May while working alone on a construction site at the Seventh Day Adventist Atoifi Hospital in the remote highlands of Malaita province.

The two young men from a village near the hospital, were arrested within weeks of his death.

Justice John Brown of the country's High Court found the Crown's case against the two had relied on "mere conjecture."

The Public Solicitor, Ken Averre, says he hopes the police will now be able to apprehend the real culprits.

He says the fact the two men were released shows the very real independence and integrity of the judiciary.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has indicated that he intends to appeal against the High Court's decision.