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PM subject to public scrutiny, says Bidar

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By DAPHNE WANI
PRIME Minister Peter O’ Neill is (pictured) subject to public scrutiny, senior magistrate Cosmas Bidar says.
He said that in the Waigani Committal Court yesterday when dismissing the case against Michael Ambrose, who was charged with posting written threats to kill O’Neill on social media.
“There is such thing as freedom of expression and as far as the court is concerned, there is insufficient evidence to put Ambrose to trial,” Bidar said.
“The committal court’s functions is to consider the evidence under section 95 (1) of the District Court Act to see if the evidence is sufficient and if a prima facie case is made out to warrant committal of the defendant the national court.
“It is a charge of wilful threats to kill by use of the social media.
“There is a page on the social media which the defendant (Ambrose) and members go and posts with other people from the electorate Yalibu Pangia area, which is the electorate that the prime minister retains.
“The people discuss recent developments and happenings around the area.”
O’Neill said in his statement to the court that Ambrose frequently demeaned his name and character.
He said he cannot tolerate such actions and Ambrose needed to be arrested and charged.
Bidar said O’ Neill did not state clearly as to how Ambrose threatened him.
“The PM says actually nothing about the written threats to him. He only says that Ambrose annoys him and pesters him.
“There are no real possibilities on how Ambrose was going to kill O’Neill.” Bidar said.
The court also found that the evidence of senior electoral officers was inadmissible for not being in a hand-up brief, according to the rules of evidence.
Ambrose was charged under section 306 of the Criminal Code Act. It was alleged that Ambrose entered the Pangia District Development page on Facebook and posted the comments and threats between April 1 and 8 this year.
The court was told that Ambrose came from O’Neill’s Ialibu-Pangia electorate. The court dismissed the case and ordered the refund of Ambrose’s K1,000 bail.

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