Court to decide on MP’s trial date

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BY JENNIFER KUSAPA

THE trial date for the case against the Member of Parliament for Baegu/Asifola Constituency will be re-scheduled because there will be no prosecutor free on the initial date.

Public Prosecutor Bradley Dalipanda told court yesterday the trial date on May 7 will not be possible for the prosecution as they have other matters for trial that same week.

Dalipanda said the date was set by his colleague prosecutor, who has since been on study leave. Thus, the case has been re-issued to Dalipanda.

However Chief Magistrate Emma Garo said re-scheduling of the case is another problem to the court, because there are only three court rooms shared among six magistrates.

She said if a case is already set for trial and lawyers wanted to vacate the trial date, the case will not be heard until after six months.

Ms Garo said the accused, Mr David Tome, is charged in relation to incidents in 2011, and if the trial date is moved for next year, this means the case would have been delayed for eight years.

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Meanwhile defence lawyer Michael Pitakaka suggested that prosecution prioritises this case over other cases before them.

Defence also made application to vary Mr Tome’s bail condition as he will be travelling to Australia for his medical review next month.

The case has adjourned to today for ruling on bail variation and to confirm the trial date.

This is the case against MP David Tome who is alleged to have been involved in converting funds in relation to incidents in 2011.

Prosecution alleged that in 2011 Tome obtained public funds for a constituency project; however those funds were not used as intended and was converted for his own use.

The MP is charged with 14 counts of Conversion under Section 278(1) (c) (i) of the Penal Code, involving funds totalling $67,170.

The minister is on $2,000 cash bail and will appear in court faithfully till his case is completed.

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