Reports claim yacht seized by Immigration and now owned by the state

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Reports reaching SBMOnline tonight claim that the Government through the Director of Immigration has seized the Mo Chuisle on Tuesday.

Mo Chuisle was the yacht used by three expatriates to illegally enter the country from New Caledonia in June. The trio: Mathew Adam Carter, Charles James Ewan Glenny and Braeton Hunter Mitchell were found guilty by Chief Magistrate Ema Garo – who in her ruling stated that the circumstances of the offending by the defendants in this case should be dealt with by a way of a fine. All three were found guilty with one count of prohibition of entry of non-citizens contrary to the Emergency Powers (Covid-19) (Prohibition of Non-Citizens).

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On the 19 of June this year, the defendants entered Solomon Islands from New Caledonia in a yacht namely Mo’Chilse illegally, during the emergency period without exemption by the Prime Minister’s Office or the Covid-19 Oversight committee.

They were ordered to pay a fine of $6,000 each with the owner/skipper of the yacht paid an extra $100, as he was found guilty under the Customs Act.

However, reliable sources told SBMOnline tonight that the Director of Immigration has seized and forfeited the yacht under section 58 (3) of the Immigration Act 2012.

The seizure and forfeiture were served today on the three and yacht now becomes a state property.

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Under the act, the Director of Immigration has the power to seize and forfeit aircraft and vessels bringing unlawful non-citizens to Somomon Islands. The crew is currently detained at Rove Correctional centre awaiting deportation.

On arrival, the three defendants left the yacht and went ashore firstly into the Point Cruz Yacht Club. The court was told that two of the defendants went inside the club and spoke to the administrative officer and asked her information about Honiara. They also asked about where the Solomon Islands Customs and Immigration offices and any BSP bank ATM.

Customs and Exercise officers were later alerted and their four Customs offices immediately dealt with them.

Matthew, Charles and Brateon were arrested at 10.30pm that night and were taken to the National Referral Hospital for COVID-19 testing. Their test results were negative. The trio then spent 14 days in quarantine at the Honiara Hotel and upon their release on July 3rd were arrested by police and charged.

The defendants, all used an addresses in Spain.

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