BRISBANE COURT RELEASES MOTI ON $88,000 BAIL

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HONOLULU (Pacific Islands Report, Jan. 4) – An Australian newspaper reports that former Solomon Islands Attorney General Julian Moti has been released on bail following a hearing in a Brisbane court.

Moti, who was deported by the Solomons last week to face charges of rape in Vanuatu, reportedly was released on AU$100,000 [US$88,227] bail.

Australian newspaper The Age did not identify Moti by name, saying he could not be named under Queensland law. He was identified as a lawyer and former Solomons official who was deported last week over a 1997 charge of rape in Vanuatu.

His defence lawyer, the Gold Coast's Chris Nyst, said a magistrate in Vanuatu had already dismissed the charges in August 1999.

Moti in October 2006 fled the Solomons just weeks after being named attorney general. He was arrested by police in Papua New Guinea but found sanctuary at the Solomons Embassy in Port Moresby  until his clandestine return to the Solomons, where he remained a close ally of former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare until last week's deportation to Australia.

Moti reportedly must stay with his parents in Sydney and report to police there every day as conditions of his bail. He must also surrender all passports and travel documents, The Age reported.

In granting bail, Ms Payne said the charges were almost 10 years old and that the accused had previously been on bail for 15 months when the charges were first raised in Vanuatu and he had not breached the bail conditions at that time.

The accused will appear in court again for a committal on February 15.

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