11 Feb 2005

Judge in Solomon Islands murder case says trial not political

8:22 am on 11 February 2005

The presiding judge hearing evidence against the former Solomons militant Harold Keke on murder charges, has declared it's not a political trial.

Keke and his associates Ronnie Cawa and Francis Lela have pleaded innocent to the murder of the cabinet minister, Augustine Geve, on the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal on August 20th, 2002.

Justice Frank Kabui told the High Court in the capital Honiara yesterday that he didn't expect any political evidence and it wasn't a political trial.

The lawyer acting for Keke, the Public Solicitor, Ken Averre, had told the court he was concerned that one prosecution witness was going to give evidence of a political nature.

Mr Averre said the secretary of the National Peace Council, Nathaniel Supa, was a political appointment.

But Justice Kabui overruled Mr Averre and Mr Supa continued to give evidence.

Mr Supa then told the court Keke had used a high-frequency radio on August 21st, 2002, to tell him he had killed the minister the day before.

The trial continues.