Public Solicitors delay irks court

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BY JENNIFER KUSAPA

PRINCIPAL Magistrate Fatimah Taeburi has raised concerns over the long delay in allocating a lawyer for an accused.

She said several times public solicitors (PSO) have appeared in court, they keep repeating the same excuse of not having received any instruction to the case, therefore assuring to relay any court instruction to their superiors.

This has been their excuse for eight months – since July last year.

The accused is Gordon Mark, in the case against him and fellow accused Nelson Maeta and John Nelson Ross.

This case is pending trial as Mr Mark is still without a lawyer to represent him.

Mark told court that he has visited the PSO several times, and the recent visit was just last week, and still no lawyer has been allocated to represent him.

The trio are charged in relation to the allegation between November 1 and 30, 2011 where the two accused and other men obtained more than $300,000 by selling the victim fake gold bars.

Police alleged the men approached the victim, Hypolite Taremae, who is the former Minister of Truth Reconciliation and Peace, at his office at Anthony Saru Building.

Police said that the men went to see the alleged victim with the intention to obtained money through false pretence and also lure him into believing their made up stories.

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The men and others allegedly told Mr Taremae that they were from Weather-coast in Guadalcanal. And in the coming days a reconciliation ceremony will take place in their village but they did not have enough money.

It was at that time they showed a picture of a gold bar to Taremae which they claimed to be in their possession, Police said.

They allegedly said they have some gold bars which were stolen by the former Guadalcanal war-lord Harold Keke that was taken from the former Ross Mining during the height of the ethnic tension.

The men also allegedly showed Taremae a certification letter from the Director of Mines that confirmed that the gold bars were gold and worth six million dollars.

Having heard from the accused and seen all the documents, Taremae was convinced.

Then on various occasions between July and November 2011, the accused men allegedly handed Taremae three gold bars in return they received $300,000.

The victim however, later found that the men lied to him and he took the “gold bars” to a dealer who confirmed they were fakes.

The bars were made from lead metal and painted with gold colour paint.

It was also alleged that the men threatened the case officer who was investigating their case that they will shoot him with a gun.

The allegation further said that the men claimed that they still have guns and will hunt for the case officer everywhere and will kill him.

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