Law firms lose court files, other properties in fire

National

TWO law firms that had been operating inside the burnt down Mt Hagen council chamber building in Western Highlands have lost millions of kina worth of court files and other properties.
Principals of the law companies, Danny Gonol, pictured and Veronica Palts told The National at the site of their burnt down offices on Saturday that they did not know where to start.
Gonol, a human rights lawyer, said that he lost more than 300 court files, his law-practising certificate, law books and degree from the university of Papua New Guinea, gown, computers, printer and furniture.
“I owe a duty to my clients and in this case, I do not know what to say to my clients,” he said.
Gonol said that about three quarters of the files he lost in the fire were human rights cases.
Gonol said that two high-profile cases were that of bank robber, the late William Kapris and Lenny Ata, a mother of one burnt to death at Warakum in Mt Hagen city a few years ago.
He said that they became victims of politics in Hagen Central where disgruntled supporters of candidates set the building on fire on Friday  night after the electoral commissioner failed to respond favourably to their petition to  count 28 boxes set aside.
Palts said that she lost 200 court files, both National and Supreme Court cases.
She said that she also lost gowns, laptops, desk top computers, printers, a fax machine and furniture.
“I have nothing to start with; it’s all gone up in flames,” she said.
She said that she did not know who would compensate her for all the losses.
Other offices also burnt down include those of Norman Finance, Hagen 2 Investment, the PNGRFL Highlands regional office and the office of the manager of Hagen Rural local level government.

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