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Pacific Personalities - Leonard Chite

Primo Afeau Legal Services - Solomon Islands

What is something that surprised you about practicing in the Pacific?

Silence doesn’t mean that people are agreeing with what you say or do; Pacific Islanders openly discuss important things when they feel a sense of genuine friendship. Practicing in the Pacific demands a close and genuine relationship with the people, the government and private and non-government organizations; Without which, a simple and understandable matter could be very difficult to navigate and or resolve.

Can you share a funny or unusual anecdote from your time practising law?

There was this one time while I was working at the Public Solicitors Office, we were defending a group of five men who were charged with Armed Robbery. They had instructed us to make bail applications, so we interviewed them and received instructions to proceed. During the interview, we were amazed by one of them who was alleged to be the ‘principal offender’, dressed in formal attire and was very respectful and courteous during the entire interview. We were very impressed that we had to tell them to wear formal attire to court the next day, hoping that it would in some way assist the application.

While we were researching for case authorities to support our submission, we sighted one with almost the exact facts to the current one, with the only difference being the offender in that case was a Juvenile. With excitement that we had found the right case, we started reading through the Judge’s opinion, trying to get what we thought would be relevant to our client’s case – until we came to read the conclusion - the Juvenile was actually the Principal Offender in our current case. It did not end well, of course! I learned that it is legally wise, 'sometimes', to be sceptical of things we see and hear from clients, even if it's so convincing, because there is always the other side of any explanation/account.

How do you stay current with legal developments and changes in the Pacific?

  • Newsletters from legal and business’ blogs, websites and other media platforms

  • Read cases on online legal platforms like, Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute (Paclii)

  • Access legislation on Parliament’s websites and other law firms’ and organizations’ websites, including LinkedIn

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be and how would you use it in your legal work?

Mind-reading or telepathy – having the ability to read other people’s mind, which I can use to capitalize on good business opportunities, settle good deals and delivering high quality work with foresight of what is expected and desired.

What is your favourite way to unwind/relax or favourite leisure activity?

My favourite way to unwind/relax would be, spending quality time with my family, sharing jokes with friends over coffee or lunch, and of course sweet and peaceful sleep.


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