Resident Magistrate Cabealawa presides over first set of RPC cases
Nauru's newly appointed Resident
Magistrate Ropate Cabealawa had his first court sitting today (4
March) presiding over the cases for asylum seekers who were charged
over last years' riot in July at the Nauru Regional Processing
The cases were called on and an
application was made by the prosecution for an extension of time,
in which the cases were adjourned for later in the month.
The 61defendants who are facing
charges of 'riot' and 'unlawful assembly' were represented by local
defenders Vinci Clodumar and Pres Nimes Ekwona.
The prosecution team was led today
(4 March) by Mr Livai Sovau who joined the office of the Director
of Public Prosecutions (DPP) less than a month ago.
Mr Sovau made three applications to
firstly continue the non-publication order that was put in place by
former magistrate Peter Law restricting the identities of the
asylum seekers to be revealed; as well as an extension of time to
enable the prosecution to serve the bundle of agreed documents as
well as other documents for the defence; and to streamline the
cases to minimise the case files in court which ultimately makes it
easier logistically when the matter would proceed to trial.
His Honour Resident Magistrate
Cabealawa granted all three applications and adjourned the cases to
two separate dates given the heavy case loads and number of accused
persons. The two dates are set for the 18th of March and
the 25th of March 2014 for mention.
Some of the defendants who were not
present today (4 March) were in Australia however the prosecutor
informed the court that some of their charges had been withdrawn by
application of a 'nolle prosequi' by the Director of Public
Prosecutions Wilisoni Kurisaqila. His Honour was informed that the
court's files had yet to be updated for that matter.
The incident arising from the July
2013 riot caused damage to the RPC worth $60-million.