Conspiracy case retrial adjourned to June

THE former Vanuatu MPs and one lawyer that are defendants of the controversial conspiracy case have been sent home to return to court on June 6 for the retrial.

Former MPs Marcellino Pipite, Paul Telukluk, Silas Yatan, John Amos, Arnold Prasad, Tony Wright, Sebastien Harry, Thomas Laken, Jonas James, and Jean-Yves Chabod who were released on parole last week, and lawyer Wilson Iauma turned up in court yesterday at the Dumbea Hall but their plea was adjourned.

Former Pentecost MP, Tony Nari, is the only defendant of the case that is still behind bars awaiting parole eligibility in July.

The plea was scheduled for Tuesday morning but was adjourned to noon after the court was informed by the defendants’ lawyers that their clients are filing a counter claim.

When the court resumed at noon Justice Richard Chetwynd said that he had spoken to the Court Registrar and will still go ahead with the retrial as intended by the Prosecution.

The defendants have been released under bail conditions.

According to Chetwynd, their condition for bail is to comply with their conditions for parole which includes signing at the Correctional Services every Wednesday, not interfere with prosecution witnesses, and not to leave Port Vila without the approval of the Court.

Three of the former MPs, namely Moana Carcasses, Serge Vohor, and Steven Kalsakau, were not part of the alleged meetings that led to the pardoning by Pipite in his capacity as Acting President.

The Public Prosecutor chose to pursue a retrial after the initial conviction and sentence of the defendants was set aside by the Court of Appeal last month.