And justice for all

The High Court of Solomon Islands.
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MMF president calls for overhaul of the high court

By Alfred Sasako

THE Malaita Masina Forum (MMF) has bought into on-going controversies surrounding some High Court judgements, claiming the High Court is in urgent need of a major clean up.

“There is no hope for justice in this country if the current judges remain on the bench,” MMF President William Gua told Island in an exclusive interview this week.

“They don’t respond to letters or concerns that the ordinary people raised with them from time to time. This constitutes maladministration, which in some jurisdiction carries a penalty,” Mr. Gua said.

“I can only imagine how many innocent people out there are being robbed of justice,” Mr. Gua said.

He gave an example of a recent High Court case involving logging operations in which he was a party.

“We have run through the entire process from the local and magistrates courts. The final order was the matter be sent to the High Court for judgement. We were expecting a judgement, which would put the matter to rest.

“Given that a logging company involved in the case had admitted a contempt of court order, we had no doubt the ruling would be in our favour. It did not,” Mr. Gua said.

“Instead, this particular judge ruled that we had to go back to the local court again,” Mr. Gua said.

“So I wrote to the Chief Justice six months ago calling on him to immediately remove the Judge who presided in our case because it was very clear the Judge was on the side of the logging company. We have no doubt he favored the logging company,” Mr. Gua told Island Sun.

“My letter to the Chief Justice was also copied to the Governor General and others. I am still waiting for the Chief Justice to even acknowledge the receipt of my letter six months on,” he said.

“Now this tells me something is very wrong with the administration of justice in this country. And when I heard of removal from office of winning candidates Jamie Vokia and John Moffat Fugui under questionable rulings, I am not surprised,” he said.

He said what is coming out are simply the symptoms of a system that urgently needs a major clean up.

“Symptoms only come out to warn of a much bigger and underlying problem. It must be dealt with. And for me, as long as the administration of the High Court is allowed to go unchecked, there will never be justice in this country,” Mr. Gua said.

“We have information on certain judges. This will be provided at the appropriate time,” he said.