DPP to appeal court’s decision

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Christopher Pryde says the State was considering an appeal against a Magistrates Court decision to discharge a 38-year-old man who appeared in court on a charge of disobedience of lawful order.

Suva magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa had discharged Sixtus Torokana on Tuesday on the grounds that the particulars of the offence were incorrect and there were two conflicting decisions by the High Court which needed to be resolved by the Court of Appeal.

Mr Pryde said it appeared the Magistrate may have made an error of law and the State would now review the decision before deciding on whether to appeal.

Mr Torokana, a forensic accountant, is an employee of the Solomon Islands Ports Authority and was arrested on April 3 at about 1.10am on Rewa St in Suva.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of disobedience of a lawful order on May 26.

Mr Boseiwaqa had stated that the particulars of the offence clearly stated the offence was in relation to government executives’ public health orders, restraining movement in response to the coronavirus.

Mr Boseiwaqa said he considered the April 16 High Court decision in the case of State vs Ravin Lal and Shalvin Chand and the May 14 decision by High Court judge Justice Salesi Temo in its revision jurisdiction.

“The court has also considered the Declaration and Order of the Chief Justice dated 18th May 2020 purporting to review and rescind the judgment of Justice Temo.

“There are two conflicting decisions of the High Court regarding offences under the Public Health Act 2019 that need to be resolved by the Court of Appeal,” stated Mr Boseiwaqa.

“Under the circumstances, the defendant is discharged,” ruled Mr Boseiwaqa.

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