18 Oct 2006

Solomon Islands immigration minister granted bail

8:14 pm on 18 October 2006

The Solomon Islands immigration minister has been granted bail after appearing in court charged with falsifying an order to have Australian lawyer Julian Moti let into the country.

Peter Shanel is facing three charges: for perverting justice; for misleading a police officer; and for misleading a public officer.

Mr Moti was charged with illegally entering the Solomons despite what he said was an order from Mr Shanel, granting him the right to enter without a valid travel document.

However, the Solomons' solicitor-general Nathan Moshinsky has questioned the order's authenticity, claiming its date was falsified and the document was issued after Mr Moti's arrival in the country.

The minister will re-appear in Honiara's Magistrates court in two weeks' time.

Earlier the foreign minister, Patteson Oti, said he believed Mr Moti had an authentic document to enter the country.

Mr Oti said he understood the document had not been altered.