Moti child sex trial could be delayed

National, Normal

THE child sex trial against Julian Moti may face lengthy delays if his lawyers are successful in stalling their current application to have the charges dropped.
The former Solomon Islands attorney-general’s trial on seven counts of engaging in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 was currently listed for four weeks next month.
The charges are related to the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl in Noumea and Vanuatu in 1997.
Moti’s lawyers were arguing in supreme court in Brisbane for the charges to be dropped on the grounds that his removal from the Solomon Islands was unlawful.
During that application yesterday, barrister Jim Kennan SC asked for a two-week adjournment so his legal team could pursue a large volume of documents provided to them by the prosecution in the past couple of days.
Mr Kennan argued familiarity with the documents was crucial to the stay application, and said their late delivery was representative of   the prosecution’s attempt to resist disclosure.
If Justice Debbie Mullins allowed the two-week adjournment, the trial date in next month would be vacated.
If the stay application was unsuccessful, the new trial date would unlikely be before the middle of next year.
Justice Mullins was expected to rule on the adjournment this morning.
On Wednesday, the court was told that Solomon Islands agencies defied a court order when they deported Moti to Australia.
A magistrate in the Solomon Islands had issued an interim order on Dec 25, 2007, which temporarily prohibited Moti’s forced removal from the country.
However, immigration and police officers ignored the order after deeming it invalid, and deported Moti to Australia two days later, the court was told.
Moti was arrested at Brisbane International Airport on Dec 27, 2007, and charged with seven counts of engaging in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16.
Moti’s lawyer Dyson is arguing that his client’s removal from the Solomons was “an  abuse of  procedure”.