The Public Solicitor’s Office has came under fire again, this time from prominent lawyer and Provincial member for ward seven in Malaita Province, Leslie Kwaiga.
Mr Kwaiga was in the Magistrate’s Court this morning where a pre-trial conference was to be held for his client and two other co-accused.
The pre-trial conference precedes a proposed Voire Dire trial for Kwaiga’s client because the Public Solicitor representing the other two co-accused was absent from Court.
But Mr Kwaiga told the Court it is not possible to hold a voire dire trial with his client unless a proper trial is set.
He says for a trial to be set the other two accused’s lawyer from the Public Solicitor should attend Court.
He says the absence of the lawyer in Court is totally unprofessional and shows no respect for the Court and the country’s justice system.
Mr Kwaiga says the Public Solicitor should be asked to explain in Court why lawyers are not taking paramount interest in their clients.
Meanwhile, Magistrate Jim Seuika agreed to adjourn the case to 7th December to give time to sort out the issues with the lawyer.
Mr Seuika says he will speak with the Chief Magistrate to seek his advice on the continuous absence of the public solicitors in Court.
He says their actions are a contempt of Court.
Last week, Magistrate Jim Seuika also raised a concern that cases are delayed because the public solicitors are prioritising High Court cases.
Magistrate Seuika made this statement after a juvenile’s trial was vacated because his lawyer from the Public Solicitor went on leave.
The Director of the Public Solicitor’s Office, Douglas Hou has responded that more solicitors are needed at his office.
He says there is always so much work to do and the demand is always higher than the available human resource.