Prosecution eyes appealing Sae’s acquittal

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Director of Public Procecution Mr Ronald Bei Talasasa
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BY JENNIFER KUSAPA

Director of Public Prosecution Ronald Bei Talasasa has declared prosecution will review the judgment on the case against the now-exonerated Edmond Sae.

The court’s judgment had found Mr Sae not guilty on the murder of former Police Commissioner Sir Frederick Soaki in 2003 at the Auki Motel in Auki, Malaita.

Responding to criticisms on the social media network, Talasasa said that he has no comment but the decision as it stands has to be respected.

“The courts must be respected and allow the processes of law be fully exhausted.

“I did not expect the acquittal therefore I will review the judgement and determine in the next 2 weeks whether or not, to appeal the verdict.”

Talasasa said that he will also meet with the family to explain the verdict and the process from hereon.

Justice John Brown had acquitted the former fugitive due to the inconsistencies of crown witness’s evidences testified in court during the months of trial.

Sae was faced with one count of escaping from police custody, two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and two counts of purchasing, acquiring and possession of firearm and ammunition without licence.

He was accused of gunning Sir Frederick on February 10, 2003 at the Auki Motel in Auki, Malaita.

Prosecution said Sir Fredrick was attending a workshop with other participants at Auki on the demobilisation programme for special constables.

The workshop was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office.

Prosecution said Sae, after escaping from police custody, avoided police arrest for more than 10 years.

With much police effort, Sae was re-arrested in October 2015 and was brought to Honiara to face court.

Prosecution said one of the murder charges and the attempted murder relates to an allegation on April 30, 2003 at the Auki Police Station, where a man in custody was shot dead and another injured.

Prosecution said he committed those offences shortly after he escaped from police custody, after his initial arrest for the murder of Sir Fredrick.

The defence case was that the identification of the gunman to have been Sae has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt while the Crown case was that three people recognised the gunman to be Sae and that on the evidence of others, a circumstantial case has been made out sufficient for the court to be satisfied to the requisite degree.

Justice Brown, in his ruling, said the evidences of the crown witnesses as to recognising Sae are unreliable, and their evidences had left him in real doubt about their veracity.

Justice Brown said from witnesses evidence there was no direct evidence to connect Sae with possession of a 9mm pistol at the time of the shooting and whilst the other witnesses (four police officers ) with him that afternoon, none specially describe a pistol which may be inferred to be a 9mm weapon.

Though he is acquitted of Soaki’s murder, Sae is sentenced to 20 years for manslaughter charge in relation to the death of an inmate, Saeni Orea, at Auki Police Station during which Sae used a machine gun in the shoot-out on April 30, 2003.

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