11 Oct 2006

Suspended Solomons attorney general in remand following passport charge

5:05 pm on 11 October 2006

The suspended Solomon Islands attorney-general, Australian lawyer Julian Moti, has challenged the impartiality of an Australian magistrate hearing charges in a Honiara court that he illegally entered Solomon Islands.

Mr Moti was arrested by police yesterday after arriving on a clandestine Papua New Guinea military flight that landed at Munda.

He was flown to Honiara and briefly appeared in court on charges of unlawfully entering the country and entering without a valid passport.

His Australian passport was cancelled when he was detained in PNG last month on a request from Australia which wants Mr Moti on sex crime charges.

Mr Moti's two associates, Solomons official, Robson Tama, and lawyer, Chris Happa, were to be charged with aiding and abetting in the commission of an offence and conspiracy to conduct a misdemeanour.

The pair were on the PNG military flight with Mr Moti after flying to Port Moresby to assist him to escape extradition from there to Australia.

Mr Moti is now in remand and to reappear in two weeks.