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Judicial CP - April 2006

Corpun file 18350

Solomon Star, Honiara, 12 April 2006

Youngsters hail police intervention

By Arthur Wate

YOUNGSTERS from a local community in Western Province welcome police intervention to address corporal punishment currently practiced in Gilbertese communities.

"It is time we do away with this colonial practice of punishing alleged wrongdoers.

"The justice system is there for a fair trial," they said.

Whilst the corporal punishment or whipping may have its advantages, the youths said there were more disadvantages.

For example, they claimed there have been isolated cases where the alleged offenders were hospitalised as the result of whipping.

They said corporal punishment has been outlawed in the country. And the punishment is inconsistent with constitution Law.

The youths urged police to quickly find ways to stop the brutal punishment.

Meanwhile, police have called for an urgent meeting with Wagina community leaders in Choiseul Province to discuss the issue following ongoing public concern about public whippings as a form of punishment for crimes.

It was anticipated the widest possible consultation involving a cross section of the community with Judiciary input is needed to resolve these issues.

Police Commissioner Shane Castles said he hopes the meeting will give some insight to the custom and encourage people to come forward and have the issues referred to the police if it involves a criminal act.

Whilst it is acknowledged that chiefs have the power to deal with issues and anti-social behaviour in their village under the Local Courts Act, he said no one has the power to whip or order the whipping of another person.

"All people in the Solomon Islands have a right to expect the application of natural justice and a fair trial in a properly constituted court.

"Evidence against a person must be factual and proven and not based on rumour.

"We strongly urge that this practice cease forthwith," the commissioner said.

blob Follow-up: 15 June 2006 - Elders of Wagina agree to stop corporal punishment

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