LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – He is the man who has plunged diplomatic relations between three countries into a continuing crisis for the better part of a year now, the New Zealand Herald reports.
One country, Australia, is convinced he is a fugitive who should be turned in to face serious sex-related charges. The Prime Minister of another, Papua New Guinea, has been accused of deliberately letting him flee and the Prime Minister of the third, the Solomon Islands, has just appointed him Attorney-General in the face of stiff opposition at home and abroad.
Meet Julian Moti, QC, one of the Australian Government’s most wanted men.
Short, well spoken and suave, this 40-something lawyer is hardly the sort of man you would think could precipitate such events. But two weeks ago his longtime friend, the Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, finally saw him appointed the country’s first law officer, ignoring Australia’s repeated protests and requests for his extradition, threats of desertion from his own MPs and overriding a veto by the country’s Public Service Commission that had stalled the appointment for 10 months.
And last week, a Papua New Guinea Defence Force inquiry condemned the country’s Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, for being in cahoots with Mr Sogavare in facilitating Mr Moti’s escape from Port Moresby last year – again, ignoring Australia’s extradition request.
Fiji-born Mr Moti is an Australian citizen (his Australian passport has since been cancelled) wanted by its Government to face charges related to allegations of sexual misconduct involving a 13-year-old Tahitian girl in Port Vila, Vanuatu, in 1997. At the time he was a tax-paying resident of Vanuatu and ran a legal practice.