Trial for MP Vokia and co-accuseds set for June

BY ROMINAH FAKA

Trial into the case against five people including the newly elected Member of Parliament for North East Guadalcanal Jamie Lency Vokia has been set for June 3-7.

The trial was supposed to commence April 22 however it was vacated by Chief Magistrate Emma Garo because defence counsel Wilson Rano was sick.

Also, the three witnesses the crown will call for the trial are yet to be summoned, Director of Public Prosecution Andrew Kelesi confirmed to the court on Monday this week.

At yesterday’s hearing Rano’s medical certificate was shown to the court.

DPP also informed court the written judgment from Judge Ronald Bei Talasasa was not yet ready.

Chief Magistrate Garo set the trial date and informed Kelesi to provide to the court once the judgment was ready.

Kelesi also told the court that Pre-Trial-Conference has been done and the ‘agreed facts’ is the only outstanding document yet to filed in court.

Court suspended the matter to May 31 for interim-mention.

The reason for the one-month adjournment is to allow the accused, MP Vokia to participate in the lobbing as the formation of the government about to happen.

Bail for all accused was extended.

Prosecution say Ethel Claudia Lency Vokia and her co-accused Jamie Lency Vokia, Rose Tala and Polycrap Peresini and Beason Moses are jointly charged for 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 Vokia 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 Mr Vokia obstructed the due course of justice and Ethel and the three other defendants aided and abetted him between January 20, 2020 and January 27, 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 Vokia.  

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

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

It was further alleged that on January 7, 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.

Andrew Kelesi director of Public Prosecution Office acts for crown and Wilson Rano of Rano&Company acts for all accused.

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