SOLOMONS LEADER DEFIANT, SETS ‘DANGEROUS PRECEDENT’

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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, Oct. 4) – The Solomon Islands Prime Minister says he will not give in to the interests of Australia by revoking the appointment of controversial lawyer Julian Moti as the country's Attorney-General.

Mr Moti was reported to have been dumped, but the Solomons leader is adamant Mr Moti will retain his post.

In a statement released this afternoon, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said media reports about the Solomons Judicial and Legal Service Commission revoking Mr Moti's appointment were untrue and misleading. Mr Sogavare said the commission could only act upon the advice of the Solomon Islands Prime Minister when revoking an appointment or even taking disciplinary action.

Mr Sogavare went on to say that Mr Moti's appointment stands and he will not be swayed by Australia to keep Mr Moti from taking up his appointment.

Mr Moti is being assisted by the Solomons High Commission in the Papua New Guinea capital.

Meanwhile, Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty has urged the Solomon Islands Attorney-General to give himself up to police in Papua New Guinea.

Commissioner Keelty says the justice system should be allowed to run its course.

"Hopefully Mr Moti will see that his fate really, his choice really, is to come and face justice," he said. "Whether it be in Papua New Guinea or in any other jurisdiction, there is an international warrant for his arrest, so wherever he goes he will still remain wanted on warrant."

Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison says the Solomon Islands Government is setting a dangerous precedent if it is harbouring a man wanted in Australia for child sex offences.

The Federal Government is trying to extradite the newly-appointed Solomon Islands Attorney-General to face alleged child sex offences dating back to 1997 in Vanuatu.

The 41-year-old Australian citizen was arrested last Friday by Papua New Guinea police but skipped bail.

Mr Moti is being assisted by the Solomon Islands High Commission in Port Moresby as he avoids extradition to Australia.

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