Director of Public Prosecutions appeals Sae verdict

The scene at the High Court on November 8 when the verdict was delivered in Sae’s case

Edmond Sae was found not guilty of the 2003 murder of former police commissioner Sir Frederick Soaki in a judgement handed down in the High Court last month, and the Public Prosecutions director is now appealing the decision.

Director of Public Prosecutions Ronald Bei Talasasa lodged the appeal with the High Court on Friday, December 8.

The appeal is against the order of acquittal in the murder of Sir Frederick and the conviction in the killing of prisoner Saeni Orea at the Auki Police Station, which was determined to be manslaughter.

Mr Talasasa said the appeal was based on his reading and consideration of the judgment.

“It’s an error on the side of the law that the judge made that makes it important for this appeal to be lodged,” he said.

The DPP can make an appeal on such grounds in any order of acquittal by the High Court.

The Court of Appeal will make a ruling after hearing submissions from both sides. According to Mr Talasasa, the court is likely to sit for the hearing in March or April next year.

In his judgment on November 8, Justice John Brown said he had no choice but to acquit Edmond Sae of Sir Frederick’s murder given inconsistent eyewitness reports, suggestions of witness collusion and a lack of evidence during the trial.

However, Justice Brown sentenced Sae to 20 years jail for the manslaughter of Mr Orea.

In a statement released after the verdict, immediate and extended family members of the late Sir Frederick said they were shocked and disappointed by the decision as they had been waiting 14 years for justice in the death of their relative.

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