By DEMAS TIEN
DISOBEYING a lawful order issued by a commander is a serious indictable offence for which an offending soldier can be sentenced to life imprisonment, a military court judge says.
PNG Defence Force judge Justice Panuel Mogish said no soldier in his right mind should consider defying orders or direction issued by a commander of the Defence Force or a senior officer.
“There is no room for disobedient or renegade soldiers in the army,” Justice Mogish said.
“The army is a place where discipline and respect of the rule of law reigns high, where any command or directions issued by the commander or authorised senior officers are respected and executed without question.
“Soldiers who think they can defy orders or directions and get away scot-free must think twice.”
Justice Mogish said Section 208 of the Constitution provided that because of the special nature of disciplined forces and of their operations, it was a primary duty of their members to obey lawful orders.
He also said Section 4 of the Defence Act provided that subject to the Act and any other laws, it was the duty of the members of the Defence Force to carry out the lawful orders of the government and of superior officers.
Justice Mogish made these comments last Saturday when giving the court’s decision on the sentence for 12 soldiers convicted for mutiny.
The court gave the 12 soldiers suspended sentence and ordered that each of them pay K1,000 fine.
Their lawyers Captain Wesley Dickson, Captain Edward Sasingian and Captain Leslie Mamu agreed to have the court fine deducted from each of the soldiers’ bail of K1,500. The K1,500 bail was granted to them by Deputy Defence Force judge Justice Allan David on Jan 11 when they were arrested and charged and were detained in the military cell at Murray Barracks.
They were found guilty of mutiny on June 1 and they were remanded in Bomana prison until last Saturday when the court gave them suspended sentence.
They are expected to appear in court today to finalise their fines.
By DEMAS TIEN