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Soloman Island's refusal of Julian Moti extradition request not acceptable.



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7 September 2007

SOLOMON ISLAND’S REFUSAL OF JULIAN MOTI EXTRADITION REQUEST NOT ACCEPTABLE

Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator David Johnston, today criticised the Solomon Islands Government for their rejection of Australia’s request for the extradition of Julian Moti.

“Australia’s request is lawful and was made in good faith. It complied with both Australian and in our respectful view the Solomon Islands extradition law, and put simply the Solomon Islands should have accepted our request,” Senator Johnston said.

“The rejection of our request on the basis that it was made for the purpose of prosecuting and punishing Mr Moti on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions, is not only inaccurate but plainly fanciful.

“Mr Moti is wanted for prosecution in Australia for serious criminal offences. He is accused of child sex offences in relation to a 13 year old girl - we do not take these accusations lightly and specifically made it an offence for Australians to commit such an offence outside Australia for the protection of all children.

“The decision by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute Mr Moti was made in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth and was utterly unconnected with Mr Moti’s race, religion, nationality or political opinion.

“To suggest that Mr Moti would not get a fair trial in Australia or it would be unjust and oppressive for him to be extradited to face a trial is offensive and utterly without foundation,” Senator Johnston said.

The previous proceedings against Mr Moti in Vanuatu were dismissed before Mr Moti faced trial for these offences.

“As a result, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is of the view that the dismissed proceedings in Vanuatu do not prevent Mr Moti being prosecuted in Australia for the offences for which his extradition is sought, because they do not amount to a previous acquittal” Senator Johnston said.

“I also reject the assertion made by Minister Inoke Tosika that the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is not independent.”

On 27 August 2007, the Australian Government provided a detailed response to over 600 questions from the Solomon Islands Minister for Justice, the Hon Isaac Inoke Tosika MP, answering each and every question and providing additional information in support of our extradition request for Mr Moti. Our response was considered, timely and appropriate,” Mr Johnston said.

“The Australian Government remains willing to work with the Solomon Islands Government and has provided all necessary information to assist the Minister with consideration of Australia’s extradition request for Mr Moti,” Senator Johnston said.

“Australia is committed to pursuing alleged child sex offenders wherever they may hide. But it is a matter of significant concern that one of our key regional partners does not appear to want to take allegations of child sex offences seriously for particular individuals,” said Senator Johnston.

Media Contact: Fiona Telford 0439 003 191 / 02 6277 7260