Monday, September 01, 2008

Officer Charged with Manslaughter


The Samoan RAMSI police officer was today formally charged with manslaughter and dangerous driving causing death in relation to the accident that killed Solomon Islands nurse, Hilda Ilabae on the 13th of June 2008.

Police have alleged that the 29-year-old Samoan off-duty RAMSI officer was driving the vehicle that collided with Ms. Hilda Ilibae.

The RAMSI officer appeared in the Honiara Magistrates Court this morning after the Samoan Government confirmed that it would not be asserting jurisdiction in this case.

Under the Facilitation of International Assistance Act which governs RAMSI's presence in Solomon Islands, a contributing country such as Samoa has the option of prosecuting its personnel charged with an offence in Solomon Islands in its own courts.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Johnson Siapu, welcomed Samoa's decision which has cleared the way for the case to be dealt with by the Solomon Islands legal system.

Acting Commissioner Siapu said that the SIPF had worked hard on the investigation.

"Solomon Islands detectives have spoken with many witnesses, and have also travelled to Australia to speak with the other Samoan police officer involved in the incident. A specialist crash scene investigator was also sourced from New Zealand to assist with the investigation," says Acting Commissioner Siapu.

Commissioner Siapu continues to say that a very comprehensive brief of evidence was given to the Director of Public Prosecutions and we have been waiting for the jurisdiction matter to be finalised before we could charge the Samoan in the Solomon Islands.

"When the advice was received this morning that the Samoan Government was not going to assert jurisdiction, the Solomon Islands Police Force immediately arranged for the charges to be laid against the 29-year-old," he said.

Acting Commissioner Siapu said the SIPF appreciated the full cooperation provided by RAMSI during the investigation.

The 29-year-old appeared in the Honiara Magistrates Court today and was bailed to reappear on 1 October 2008.

Arrangements between the Solomon Islands and Samoan Government will permit the 29-year-old to travel to Samoa briefly whilst on bail before he reappears in the Honiara Magistrates Court.

The 29-year-old's travel documents including his passport will be held by the Commissioner of Samoa Police during his brief trip.

Bail conditions imposed today include that the 29-year-old must return from Samoa to Solomon Islands on 29 September 2008, reappear in the Honiara Magistrates Court on the 1st of October 2008, and upon his return must remain at the Guadalacanal Beach Resort and surrender his passport to the Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Police Force.


Chief's Son, Officer Marquis Williams Charged with Drunk Driving


Massillon police Officer Marquis D. Williams, son of Chief Robert Williams, was charged with drunken driving Saturday by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Several motorists spotted Williams driving out of control in the southbound lanes of I-77 around 3:52 a.m., according to Lt. Eric Sheppard of the Canton Post.

"We had received several citizen's band radio reports of a vehicle traveling southbound on I-77," Sheppard said. "The vehicle exited Everhard Road and was subsequently observed by one of our officers.

"The officer had observed further marked lanes violations, initiated the traffic stop, just east of Belden Village Avenue on Everhard. The officer had seen obvious signs of impairment and placed him under arrest."

Williams, 24, was transported to the Canton Post of the Highway Patrol, where he submitted to an alcohol breath test.

Williams' breath-alcohol content was 0.11 percent, just above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. He faces charges of operating a vehicle impaired and marked lanes violations, both misdemeanors.

Sheppard said he did not know where Williams was coming from or where he was headed or if anyone else was in the car at the time of the arrest. He also did not have the make or model of the vehicle Williams was driving at the time.

Safety Services Director Mike Loudiana said the city was made aware of the incident, but is waiting to see a police report and learn the outcome of a court trial before disciplining Williams.

"I don't have all of the facts," Loudiana said. "I know he was picked up by the State Highway Patrol, but he was released. He was not jailed."

Loudiana said Williams isn't due back to work until Wednesday, the same day he is scheduled for arraignment in Massillon Municipal Court. Loudiana said until then he has no other comment.

Loudiana added that the police chief will have no role in any potential punishment his son may face.

Williams was hired by the city along with two other patrolmen a year ago. He has prior driving violations of speeding (2004) and driving with expired plates (2007), according to court records.

Chief Williams did not return calls Monday seeking comment.

The arrest marks the second time in as many months that a city safety services employee has been arrested for drunken driving. In July, the State Highway Patrol arrested 34-year-old Paul Harbaugh, a firefighter, for driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.091 percent.

Harbaugh, who was also charged with felonies for drug possession and improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, failed several field sobriety tests, according to reports.

His case has been transferred to a Stark County grand jury.