16 Dec 2006

Solomons Opposition leader questions court ruling in Moti case

9:34 am on 16 December 2006

The Solomon Islands Opposition is questioning the independence of the magistrate who dismissed immigration charges against the suspended Attorney General, Julian Moti.

The opposition leader Fred Fono made the comment after charges of illegal entry and not having a valid passport were dropped by the magistrates court in Honiara this week.

Mr Moti was charged after flying into the Solomons from Papua New Guinea on a clandestine military flight in October.

Mr Fono says the dismissal - made after the Australian lawyer produced a permit to enter and reside in the Solomons - took the Opposition by surprise.

He says they believe the document is highly suspicious.

"We believe there must be some retrospective approval on the exemption order already after Julian Moti arrived in the country."

Mr Fono says Mr Moti had clearly broken the law by travelling without a passport on an unauthorised flight.