14 Apr 2014

Call for halt to cases until new Vanuatu public prosecutor in place

8:01 pm on 14 April 2014

A defence lawyer from the Vanuatu Public Solicitors Office says he believes a number of cases should not be heard in court until a new Public Prosecutor is appointed.

Vanuatu's former public prosecutor, Kayleen Tavoa, was forced to resign after reports of her allegedly neglecting her duties, and the role remains vacant.

Defence lawyer Henzler Vira says cases which were in court before the 9th of March, when Ms Tavoa left, should continue.

However, he says cases which went to court after she left, should not continue until a public prosecutor is appointed.

Mr Vira says the Public Prosecutors Act states that the public prosecutor is to take a leading role in the charges and information prepared by its office.

"Most of the work undertaken by the junior staff were not supervised by the public prosecutor, so the last time we went up to court I made an objection that all the cases be adjourned, mainly that the public prosecutors act needed to be observed."

Henzler Vira says he successfully argued to have about 10 of his cases, most of them sexual assault cases, adjourned for now.