Magistrate to decide whether to release gang leader pastor on bail today

BY ROMINAH FAKA

Court will today decide whether or not a pastor who had allegedly led a group of eight men and terrorised a village in Savo island, will be let out on bail.

Yesterday, while applying for bail for pastor Bernard Bana and two co-accused Charles Bane and Rolland Fiu, defence assured court on three factors which are risks to these three men going out on bail.

The three factors are risk of re-offending, risk of interfering with the crown witnesses and risk of failing to attend their court dates.

Defence told the magistrate court that the three men would not commit any of these three risk factors, because they had learnt their lesson by having been remanded in custody for the past two months.

Defence added, for the men’s surety through their sworn statements, they will abide to whatever conditions court will impose on the accused and will take full responsibility as a surety.

Defence also informed court that the surety did not have cash money to pay for the cash bail of the three accused, so defence requested court for its discretion to grant bail and impose a principal bail on the surety.

Police Prosecution did not object to the three factors defence raised in its bail applications.

Instead, proosecution objected to the principal bail in which the defence counsel requested from the court’s discretion.

Prosecution argued that this would be unfair to other co-accused who had been bailed, and on their sureties who had paid for their bail of $500 each.

Court adjourned the matter for today for ruling of the bail application.

The nine accused namely, Pastor Bernard Bana, 34, Charles Bane, 72, David Bane, 35, Junior Rollin, 27, Thomas Fenli, 37, Albert Ramo, 21, Rolland Fiu, 41, Patterson Iugasia, 38, and Jacob Gore, 47, are all jointly charged with Criminal Trespass and Malicious Damage.

All the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Allegations said leading up to the incident where Pr Bana had locked up church properties which had been presented to the Bazo SSEC church on Savo by sister churches on Honiara.

This reportedly did not go down well with the Bazo community.

This disagreement eventually led to Bana leaving Bazo for Honiara in January this year.

Two weeks later Bana’s wife returned to Bazo to collect their belongings.

It is alleged while she was packing up their belongings; a man (who would later become the complainant in this case) approached the pastor’s wife and told her to leave the church properties alone.

The wife reported this to her husband (Bana) upon return and he responded by telling her to inform the Bazo community and the man who had approached her to prepare $10,000 as compensation for him (Bana).

On Thursday, February 22nd Pr Bana and the other eight defendants met near the Yacht club sea front where Bana paid a sea fare of $700 and they crossed to Bazo Village, Savo at 5pm.

Allegations continue that they first shored at Koromilo village where they unloaded seven cartons of beer and headed to Mora village.

They arrived around 6pm in the evening and walked straight to Bazo village, to the complainant’s house.

The complainant and his family were in their kitchen having dinner when defendant David Bane came and spoke with him. One of the defendants threw a punch at the complainant but missed.

One of the defendants grabbed the complainant’s shirt while another defendant who was armed with an axe moved in to attack the complainant. However, the complainant freed himself and escaped.

Rollin gave chase with his home-made pistol but could not catch him, so he returned and threatened one of the villagers with the weapon, it is alleged.

The defendants then turned on the complainant’s house and properties and damaged it.

The total amount of the damaged properties is reportedly $10,470. These include the damaged solar watts, large bucket, and pieces of iron roofing, pots, cups, plates, spoon, luggage basket, dwelling house and kitchen house.

Allegations added that on February 23 the defendants to 16 pieces of roofing iron and a tank belonging to the Bazo church and sold them to some people from nearby Lokanipeo village.

Bazo community reported the matter to the police. On Saturday, February 24 the defendants were about to board a boat back to Honiara when the Police Response Team arrived and apprehended all the defendants and escorted them to Tulagi police station.

Next day they were escorted to Honiara.

Iete Tebakota of Police Prosecution Department act for the Crown and Rochelle Palmer of PSO represent Pastor Bernad Bana, Rolland Fiu, Albert Ramo, Charles Bane and Junior Rollin and Bobby Harunari of PSO represent Thomas Fenli, Patterson Lugasia, Jacob Gore and David Bane.

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