Businesswoman stands trial in the Solomon Islands

Honiara (Solomon Star): Prominent businesswoman, Mary Chow is standing trial for the second time around for four counts of perjury charges in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court in the Solomon Islands.

Her case was remitted to the Magistrates’ Court for re-trial after she won her appeal case in the High Court.

Chow has successfully appealed against her conviction and sentence in the High Court.

She was convicted of three counts of perjury after a trial in the Honiara Magistrates’ court and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
Her sentence was fully suspended.

Chow then appealed to the High Court to which Justice Francis Mwanesalua quashed her convictions and her suspended sentence.
A fresh trial before another magistrate is then ordered.

The perjury charges were in relation to three statements Chow made during a high court civil case between herself and the Complainant Aggie Podarua in this case.

It was said she lied in court during the civil proceedings that she and the Ms Podarua never entered into a written tenancy agreement.

She said they have only entered into an oral agreement.

During the civil hearing no evidence of the signed written tenancy agreement was produced because both parties could not locate their copies.

She and the complainant, Aggie Podarua in 2007 entered into a tenancy agreement over a property owned by Chow.

The agreement involved the complainant to operate a fast food on the property known as the Amy's Cafe at Point Cruz.

There was a written tenancy agreement signed by both Chow and Mrs Podarua.

After some disputes between the two parties over the payments of the rental, Chow filed a civil suit against Mrs Podarua.

It was during the High Court civil hearing that she made three statements under oath that she and the complainant did not enter into a written agreement.

She claimed there was only an oral tenancy agreement.

Mrs Podarua later located the copy of the written and signed agreement in 2011 and lodged a complaint against Chow.

Chow during the criminal proceedings against her in the Honiara Magistrates' Court conceded there was a written agreement signed between Mrs Podarua and herself.

She however made a defence of honest mistake.

The trial before Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Kouhota continues today.

Maelyn Bird of Bird and Hiele Legal Service is representing Chow while State Prosecutor Margaret Suifa’asia is representing the Crown.

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