10 Jan 2007

Solomons government opens up over sacking of police commissioner

7:11 pm on 10 January 2007

The Solomon Islands government has finally spoken out about why it sacked Police Commissioner Shane Castles last month, calling him an undesirable.

The sacking, which bans Mr Castles from re-entering Solomon Islands, brought widespread criticism fromAustralian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

The Solomons Immigration Minister, Patteson Oti says that the government made the decision based on the commissioner's conduct, particularly during the Honiara riots in April and the raid on the Prime Minister's office last year.

Mr Oti questioned whether Australia would tolerate a senior police officer breaking down the door of the Prime Minister in his absence without having to justify his actions.

Pacnews had earlier reported that Mr Castles believed the Solomons government was trying to destroy his credibility following a number of police investigations which included senior government members.

And he said it was the continuing probe into the suspended Attorney General, Julian Moti, which led to his constructive dismissal under the guise of an immigration ban.

Mr Oti said the ban had nothing to do with the Moti affair, it was an issue of what the government believed was Mr Castle's abuse of power.