Blow for gov’t as Boso walks free after landmark ruling on “facebook”

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In a major blow for the government, the man charged with publishing false rumour on social media about COVID-19, Peterson Boso, has walked free — after the Magistrates Court found that there was no sufficient evidence to trial him.

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An elated Boso, 44, told SBMOnline: “I dedicate the victory to the media in Solomon Islands and my two kids who have been with me during this very difficult time. I want to tell you all that there is no law that regulates how we should use internet in the country”

Boso was arrested on 1 April this year by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force on allegation of spreading rumours on social media about COVID-19 in Solomon Islands during the current State of Public Emergency.

Boso posted information on his Facebook (FB) page, Sore Boko, stating that there was already a case of COVID-19 in Solomon Islands. There was and is currently no positive COVID-19 case in Solomon Islands.

Today, Boso’s four months’ battle is over.

His lawyer Ronald Dive told SBMOnline that Boso was freed after the court ruled that there was no case to answer due to insufficient evidence.

According to Dive at the close of the submission by the prosecutions he was not satisfied with the evidence presented before the court before the case went to trial so he applied for a no case to answer ruling.

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He said there were two issues that the state could not prove; one is on the social damages that the post had caused.

Dive explained that there was no evidence from the state to prove that the post by his client had caused social damage. He cited one example to SBMOnline saying there was no proof from the prosecution that any person(s) had suffered heart-attack or died after reading the post from Boso.

Secondly, Dive argued that the use of word publication only applies to newspapers as the country’s law is outdated and it does not apply for internet. He said Boso posted on the internet and there is no law that regulates the use of internet including the social media.

Magistrate Tearo Beneteti ruled that there was no case to answer.

Speaking to SBMOnline, Boso said: “I am happy with the ruling it has caused so much stress for me. I am a well-known person in town so now I am free now to move around.”

Boso adds: “Sore Boko is back tomorrow.”

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