Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 3 June 2015

Expatriate Eilon Mass has pleaded not guilty to the rape charges against him. Daily Post today reports 6 witnesses for Mass in the matter. For the Public Prosecutor there are said to be 8 witnesses, the alleged incident taking place at the house of Maas on 15 July last year: the rape of a ni-Vanuatu girl of 17 years. The Mass saga started a year ago when he was charged by his boss Ronan Harvey with various offences at Harvey’s Santo plantation. Harvey and Mass have been accusing each other of bribing ni-Vanuatu officials.

Fire has burned out two houses at Radio Ohlen in which everything therein seems to haver been burnt. Post carries a dramatic page one photo.

Parliament is not meeting this morning as MPs go for their medical checks at the Parliament building. This morning’s news in all media concerns Parliament yesterday: discipline in the Police and changes to the regional land transport associations.

A story from yesterday’s Post concerning the production of a "miracle cure" in the United States links closely with a death in Vanuatu, that of expatriate Sylvia Fink on Epi on a yacht with her partner at a time when various yachts congregated at the island several years ago. Fink took the claimed cure which had been promoted by the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing whilst at the island. The drug is actually labelled Miracle Mineral Solution by its purveyors and is claimed to be a cure for every kind of health problem. It is commonly used as a bleach but had been marketed by one Louis Daniel Smith as a cure-all. It should not have been consumed. Smith has been found guilty of conspiracy and smuggling in the US.

Correction to an item of two days ago … This Digest indicated it was possible for cases originating in the Island Court to proceed to the Appeal Court. This was not correct. Appeals against Island Court judgements must go firstly to the Magistrates’ Court. Recently a case concerning a chieftaincy was then further appealed to the Supreme Court. This being an important legal matter, the Appeal Court was asked to rule and it ruled that such cases may proceed to the Supreme Court.