Defence recruit foreign lawyers for Vanuatu conspiracy case

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Marcellino Pipite ... accused over his actions as Acting President of Vanuatu. Image: Vanuatu gov.

By Thompson Marango in Port Vila

Two lawyers from Australia have been taken on board the defence team representing 11 of the jailed Vanuatu politicians facing charges of conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.

The defendants charged in this case are: Marcellino Pipite, Paul Telukluk, Silas Yatan, Tony Nari, John Amos, Arnold Prasad, Tony Wright, Sebastien Harry, Thomas Laken, Jean Yves Chabot, and Jonas James.

 The Vanuatu Supreme Court Registry Office confirmed that the two lawyers, Michael Pearce and Rose Cameron, are practitioners from Australia.
Pearce and Cameron have reportedly complied with all the required procedures and will be assisting a local lawyer, George Boar, during tthe trial next month, which is expected to last a month.
During the first conference in February, Boar made an application to the court to bring in assistance from abroad.

The application was granted and the case management was adjourned until this week.

The two Australian lawyers are already in the country and were given temporary admission by the Chief Justice Monday this week to act on this particular case.

Temporary admission
According to the Supreme Court Registry, the pair have been given the right to assist Boar to defend the jailed politicians only in this case.

Section 13 of the Legal Practitioners Act gives the Chief Justice power to grant temporary admission for lawyers outside Vanuatu to practise on a temporary basis.

-Partners-

They were believed to be part of the meetings leading to Pipite pardoning himself and his other convicted politicians in his capacity as Acting President.

The pardon was later withdrawn by the President Baldwin Lonsdale and was also declared null and void by both the Supreme and Appeal Courts last year.

Initially three of their lawyers were also arrested but were understood to have been given immunity as state witnesses.

Thompson Marango is a Vanuatu Daily Post reporter.

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