Speaker of Parliament, Simeon Seule, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of assault-related charges in the Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Speaker Seule pleaded not guilty to one count of malicious damage to property, contrary to section 133 of the Penal Code Act [CAP 135].

Mr Seule denied one count of intentional assault contrary to section 107 (b), one count of 107 (a), an additional count of attempt intentional kidnapping against section 28 and 105.

He also pleaded not guilty to one count of attempt intentional assault contrary to section 28 and 107 (b) of the Penal Code.

Senior Magistrate Peter Moses listed a 3-day trial starting on November 4- 6 2019, with the prosecution saying they will summon four to five witnesses.

Defense lawyer Andrew Bal told the court they will bring three witnesses and the number is likely to increase before the trial dates.

Mr Bal asked the court to amend the bail conditions of his client by withdrawing the signing at the police station and leaving the island of Efate.

He said his client is a Member of Parliament, occupied a high office and he may travel at any time in his capacity as the Speaker of the Parliament of Vanuatu.

The lawyer said they encountered a similar difficulty in the first hearing when his client attended the South Pacific Games as the Minister of the Youth and Sports.

The bail condition was then amended.

He added his client is not a flight risk and will be in court when the court resumes to hear his trial and he is not someone that is willing to reoffend.

Mr Bal also played down the article carried by Daily Post yesterday that he advised his client to step down if he will be found guilty of any criminal charges.

He said he is waiting for the Speaker to advise on whether or not they will appeal the civil case awarded to the complainant of this criminal proceeding.

The lawyer is hopeful the case will be appealed and said they are looking forward to the trial.