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MAJURO, Marshall Islands — The suspended American chief justice
of the Marshall Islands High Court gets his day in court today.

Charles Henry, who has been suspended since last October, will
be arraigned on 30 criminal charges, most of which relate to allegations that he
misused government travel and housing money. He is also facing one libel charge
that claims that he falsely accused the Marshall Islands of human rights abuses
in a letter to American Sen. John McCain that subsequently received coverage in
the Baltimore Sun and other U.S. media.

Henry was originally charged with seven counts of cheating,
three of which were subsequently dismissed. The Marshall Islands earlier this
month filed an amended complaint increasing the charges to 30.

Palau’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Arthur Ngiraklsong is
hearing the case against Henry.

The Marshall Islands sought to have Ngiraklsong find that there
was "good cause" to move directly to a trial based on the documents filed
without holding a preliminary hearing. But Henry’s defense attorney David Lowe
objected to this and called for a hearing to preserve his client’s
constitutional rights.

Ngiraklsong ruled this week that although there is no
constitutional or legal requirement of a preliminary hearing, the High Court’s
past practice has been to hold preliminary hearings when defendants ask for

He rejected special prosecutor David Strauss’s motion and agreed
to hold an arraignment and preliminary hearing that is now scheduled for Monday.
Ngiraklsong is flying in from Palau specially to oversee the hearing.

April 28, 2003

Marianas Variety:

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