27 Feb 2007

Uncertainty surrounds departure of Australian man from Solomons

2:53 pm on 27 February 2007

A 61-year-old Australian Vietnam War veteran accused of plotting to assassinate the Solomon Islands prime minister has flown back to Australia from Honiara.

However, there is confusion over whether Bill Johnson left his home of 18 years voluntarily or whether he was deported.

Radio Australia reported Johnson was deported to Brisbane by Solomons authorities yesterday, despite the charges against him being dropped last week.

But the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation quoted Immigration Director Jeffrey Deve as saying Mr Johnson left voluntarily.

Mr Johnson has lived in the Solomons for 18 years and is married to a Solomon Islander

Charges against him of conspiring to murder Manasseh Sogavare and of conspiracy to commit a felony were dropped in the Honiara Magistrates Court last Monday.