MP Vokia’s trial to commence July 15

BY ROMINAH FAKA

The trial involving five people, including newly elected Member of Parliament for North East Guadalcanal Jamie Lency Vokia, is scheduled to commence next week from July 15-19 before Chief Magistrate Emma Garo.

During the final interim-mention in court yesterday, prosecution informed court that there had been a change of prosecutors.

Initially, the Director of Public Prosecutions was the counsel in carriage of the file. However, due to a family issue that required his attentions, the court vacated the previous trial date and reschedule it for July 15.

The Director of Public Prosecution reassigned another prosecutor within their office to handle the case, and crown have no issues with the trial commencement date.

The defence counsel for the five accused also informed the court that they have no objections to the trial commencing next week and the five accused were all appeared in court.  

Court suspended to July 15 for trial. Bail for all accused extends.

Ethel Claudia Lency Vokia and his co-accused Jaimmie Lency Vokia and Rose Tala and Polycrap Peresini and Beason Moses are jointly charged for one count of conspiracy to defeat justice and interference with the witness, contrary to section 116 (b) of the Penal code cap 26 to be read with section 21 (a) of the Penal Code (cap 26).

Ethel is also facing a separate charge of Election Bribery contrary to section 126 (1) (a) and (b) (ii) of the Electoral Act 2018.

It was alleged that Jamie obstructed the due course of justice and Ethel and the three other defendants aided and abetted him between 20 January 2020 and 27 January 2020 in Honiara, preventing a woman who was lawfully bound to appear and give evidence as a witness from appearing and giving evidence at the High Court.

This was during a High Court hearing of the Election Petition case lodged against Jamie.

Jamie lost his seat after the High Court found him guilty of three counts of briberies at the Election Petition hearing in 2020.

A bye-election was held later in 2020, which Jamie’s wife Ethel win the Parliament seat for Northeast Guadalcanal.

It was further alleged that on 7 January 2018, Ethel gave $250 to a person with the intention of influencing that person and two others to vote for Jamie at the 2019 National General Election.

Vernon Taupongi from Public Prosecution Office appears for crown and Walter Rotumana of Rano & Company appears for all accused.

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