SOLOMONS TOURISM MINISTER'S BAIL REJECTED AGAIN

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By Evan Wasuka

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 11) – Solomon Islands Tourism Minister Nelson Ne’e was yesterday denied bail for the third time by the Magistrates Court after his lawyer was not ready to pursue their application for bail.

His lawyer instead wanted more time to study Mr. Ne’e’s medical records but Magistrate Seri Seneka dismissed the application, remanding Mr. Ne’e for a further 14 days.

Mr. Ne’e now rejoins fellow Honiara Member of Parliament and Police Minister Charles Dausabea in remand at Rove Prison.

Mr. Dausabea had sought bail on Tuesday on the grounds that his diabetes was worsening in prison and that now he was a minister he needed to be free to carry out his duties.

Both arguments were soundly rejected by the court.

On Monday, Mr. Ne’e’s legal team had persuaded the court to hear a fresh application for bail.

Before a packed courtroom, yesterday, Magistrate Seri Seneka cautioned that bail had been rejected on two previous occasions and any new application had to be based on new grounds.

Mr. Ne’e’s lawyer, Wilson Rano of Pacific Law, said he understood this and sought an adjournment to study his client’s medical records.

Director of Public Prosecution John Cauchi challenged the adjournment saying it was wrong for the defense to seek a bail application and then have it adjourned.

He called on the court to dismiss the application bid, as Mr. Ne’e’s lawyers were not ready to proceed.

Mr. Cauchi said he had sought a seven day adjournment on Monday and it was the defense themselves that had wanted the application to be heard the next day.

Magistrate Seneka dismissed the application, saying that Mr. Ne’e could reapply at a later date.

Mr. Ne’e, who has been in remand for the past three weeks, is charged with two counts of threat, one of intimidation and one of inciting violence.

Both Mr. Ne’e and Mr. Dausabea are represented by the same law firm.

Their appointments as ministers of the state have been condemned by both Australia and New Zealand.

Australia Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander said he had found the appointments deeply concerning and disappointing while New Zealand Prime Minister said she was aghast at the news of the appointments.

May 12, 2006

Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

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