BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
Two juveniles who were charged with setting fire to the Parliament leaf-hut on November 24, 2021 have been convicted by the court.
The juveniles denied the charge and a trial was conducted on their case in which the court found them guilty and convicted them with arson.
Chief Magistrate Emma Garo said the issue to determine is whether or not prosecution witnesses positively identified the defendants as the persons who willfully and unlawfully set fire to the leaf hut on November 24, 2021.
The prosecution case is that on November 24, 2021 the defendants willfully and unlawfully set fire to the leaf hut at the Parliament precincts, the property of the speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands
It is agreed that the fire was willfully and unlawfully set to the leaf hut and it was completely burnt on November 24, 2021.
Ms Garo said it is clear from the evidence that the crown witnesses have given different versions about where the fire started and how the fire started, however the different versions given about where the fire started and how the fire started do not in her view affect the veracity and the reliability of the evidence.
She said assessing the evidence from four prosecution witnesses links the evidence of those to whom the defendants made admissions against self-interest, about setting fire to the leaf hut and the evidence of the three witnesses who watched the events unfold from the kitchen inside the Parliament round house, positively identify the two defendants as the person who torched the leaf hut on November 24, 2021.
“I find that the prosecution has proved the charge against the two defendants beyond a reasonable doubt.
“I find the defendants guilty, I convict the two defendants of the charge of arson,” Garo said.