Patients wait 8 months for path tests
More than the thin edge of the wedge

Australia exploited us, say Moti witnesses


THE FAMILY of a girl who accused one-time Solomon Islands attorney-general Julian Moti of rape, say the Australian Federal Police used them for political purposes and they regret being involved in the matter.

Meanwhile the Australian government continues to give the Vanuatu family thousands of dollars a month despite a Queensland Supreme Court throwing out the Moti charges last December because the AFP's $150,000 worth of payments was an "abuse of process".

The parents of the girl told AAP they were disappointed with the AFP's handling of allegations that the Fijian-born Australia lawyer had sex with their daughter when she was 13.

The father said that, as part of the AFP witness deal, his daughter now lives in Brisbane and the case has torn their family apart.

"I'm finished with this," he said. "As far as I am concerned, I want to see Moti walk out. Simply because of the way the Australians went about all this."

The family, originally from Tahiti, along with Vanuatu officials in the capital Port Vila, confirmed the AFP pays about $1000 a month for the rent, an additional cost not disclosed in court.

For the past three years an Australian High Commission representative has paid the family's yearly immigration visas to be in Vanuatu, worth in total $3000, and Australia continues to pay living expenses.

"I am grateful, to an extent, to the AFP, but they owe us," the father said. "They got what they wanted, but what is this? Justice?

"They destroyed our life. If I had my time again, I would tell them to piss off."

An AFP spokesman said it would not be appropriate to comment as the matter is listed before the Queensland court of criminal appeal.

The mother of the girl said the family suffered business losses and health problems due to stress from the case.

"They told us this was about justice for our daughter, but over time different things came about; it was politics," she said.

"I didn't want to do this at the start, but AFP assured us they had all the proof. They assured my daughter they had the proof. But this was rubbish, a lie, and it screwed up our life."

The Moti saga soured relations between PNG, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Moti, 44, was arrested in Port Moresby in September 2006 but in October he was spirited out to the Solomons on a PNG military plane despite Australia asking for him to be handed over to face criminal charges.

Moti later became the Solomons Attorney General but in December 2007, after the Solomons Government changed, Moti was deported to Brisbane.

He was charged with seven counts of engaging in sexual intercourse with a person aged under 16 in Vanuatu in 1997.

A Vanuatu court had already dismissed the charges but the AFP raised them again through new child sex tourism laws.

Moti always denied the allegations and argued an Australian political agenda was behind the AFP's case.

Documents in the Queensland Supreme court case show Patrick Cole, then Australian High Commissioner to the Solomons, urged the AFP to pursue Moti because his appointment as Attorney-General would be disastrous to Australian interests.

Other court documents show the AFP sought legal advice on whether the girl could get indemnity from perjury charges because in the Australian case her story had changed and she gave "contrary" statements and previously "may have lied" in the Vanuatu court.

Justice Debbie Mullins said AFP's "subsistence payments" to the girl and her family between 2008 and 2009 "bring the administration of justice into disrepute".

Ilya Gridneff is the Papua New Guinea Correspondent for Australian Associated Press. He went to Vanuatu to research this story


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Reginald Renagi

The Moti Affair has made the Australian Federal Police lose its credibility.

Many government agencies will not trust the AFP again as they have compromised their professionalism in several other cases as well.

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