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Case dismissed for lack of evidence

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 6, 2008) – Former Solomon Islands Malaita Eagle Force commander Jimmy ‘Rasta’ Lusibaea is now a free man.

Since the arrival of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands arrive in 2003, Mr Lusibaea has been arrested, convicted, bailed and awaiting more charges.

But yesterday, he walked out of court a free man after he was acquitted of his last ethnic tension related case.

Lusibaea, Rex Ila, John Kiki, Lemuel Kwaimani and Alick Fefele had been facing charges of attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to murder.

This was in relation to an incident on 10 May 2000 against former Development Bank of Solomon Islands Guadalcanal branch manager Mosses Garu.

All the accused had pleaded not guilty.

However, yesterday presiding judge Justice David Cameron acquitted Lusibaea, Ila and Kiki.

This came after their lawyers filed a no case to answer application.

Lawyers Nicole Manning and Gabby Brown submitted that there’s lack of evidence to convict their clients.

Crown Prosecutor made no submission against the application.

As a result Justice Cameron acquitted the three men.

There were smiles and signs of relief as Lusibaea, Kiki and Ila walked out from court.

Lusibaea said he knew from the start that he would walk out from the trial a free man.

"I am indeed happy with the decision.

"I have yet again walked out a free man," Lusibaea said.

Kiki and Ila were equally relieved.

The acquittal of these three leaves Kwaimani and Fefele still facing the charges.

But their lawyers will today file no case to answer applications when the trial resumes.

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