$2,000 fine for man who breached lockdown order

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PRINCIPAL Magistrate Felix Hollision has ordered a man to pay a fine of $2000 after being found guilty of breaching the recent curfew orders.

The defendant, Bruno Junior Sepo Todonga, is a 23-year-old man from Ghombua village on Guadalcanal Province and residing at Mbokonavera 1 in Honiara.

He was charged with one count of Restriction of Movement of Persons in Honiara: contrary to Regulation 5(1), (2) (a) and (b); and 9(1) of the Preservation of Public Security Regulations 2021 and section 3 of the Preservation of Public Security Act [Cap 27] and 21(a) of the Penal Code [Cap 26].

Prosecution said on December 4 2021 at about 0049 hours or 12:49am, the defendant was not at his place of residence at Mbokonavera 1 but was seen together with three others travelling in a white 2-ton truck along the Honiara City Council roundabout, an area designated as an emergency zone during the restriction period without any lawful excuse.

The defendant was driving the said vehicle at the time and he was intoxicated.

He pleaded guilty to the charge and was remanded in custody for not giving a valid and satisfactory explanation as to why he did not comply with the police bail conditions for him to appear in court on a date in December 2021.

Principal Magistrate Felix Hollision in sentencing the accused said the present case must generally be treated as more serious than the trial lockdowns and curfews because the relevant regulations were in place to contain the lawlessness within our nation’s capital from the 24 to 27 November 2021.

Hollision said the regulations were made for the preservation of public safety in Honiara because of the riots, burning and looting of shops and other private businesses between the 24 to 27th of November 2021. Three people also died during the course of the riots. This present offence occurred at least a week later after the said events.

The defendant was under the influence of alcohol at the material time and is very serious as he was the driver of the vehicle.

“Driving under the influence of alcohol aggravated his offending compared to his three other co-defendants who were his passengers.

“I am of the view that this case should considered as falling towards the lower end of the spectrum in terms of its severity, hence, I am satisfied that a penalty fine is appropriate for the present case”, Hollision said.

Hollision also made orders that the accused Todonga must pay the penalty fine of SBD 2000. by January7 2022 at 4:30pm, in the event that he fails to pay his fine, he shall be imprisoned for 3 months.

“I hereby order that he be released from custody so that he can be able to pay up his fine.

“I hope that he learns from his mistake and not to commit any offence in the future. This should also send a deterrent message to the public that adherence to our laws is important and the failure to do so has consequences”, Hollision added.