SOLOMONS BUSINESSMAN CLEARED OF RIOT CHARGES

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, Aug 1) –The Solomon Islands High Court this morning acquitted private businessman and former parliamentarian, Alex Bartlett on all charges relating to the April riots in Honiara last year.

High Court Judge, Justice David Cameron dismissed all four charges against Mr Bartlett.

Justice Cameron made his ruling following an application by Mr Bartlett's lawyer Ken Averre for a no case to answer on three counts of inciting and one of intimidation.

Mr Bartlett was accused of encouraging the crowd to riot.

Justice Cameron said, on cross examination, he found that evidence against Mr Bartlett was so discredited, that no reasonable tribunal could rely on such distorted evidence to properly convict him.

Justice Cameron further acquitted Member of Parliament for Central Honiara constituency, Nelson Ne'e on one count of inciting riot in China Town area.

The Judge however says there was sufficient evidence to bring Ne'e to trial on one count of intimidation he allegedly made against the wife of a parliamentarian.

Meanwhile, the High Court trial of East Honiara MP, Charles Dausabea continues tomorrow on charges of inciting riot.

Mr Dausabea was however acquitted this morning, along with Central Honiara MP Nelson Ne'e and businessman Alex Bartlett of conspiracy charges to murder, commit arson and riot.

Justice Cameron rejected an application by Mr Dausabea's lawyer, Charles Ashley for a "no case to answer" in respect of two counts of inciting and one count of intimidation.

But Mr Ashley says his client has denied all three charges.

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