The National – Friday, December 31, 2010
SELF-proclaimed “Australian citizen” Jonathan Baure, whose followers managed to sneak past Australian security in the Torres Strait to reach the Cape of York last week, is still in police custody in Port Moresby with no hope of bail – at least for the remainder of this year.
Yesterday was his fifth day in the lockup at the Boroko police station after he was arrested on Daru Island last Saturday, flown to Port Moresby and charged with breaches of immigration and customs laws in organising a flotilla of boats, with 122 Papua New Guineans, to travel to Australia to protest that they should be recognised as Australians.
Baure’s lawyer Robbie Kanison Kone, of Poro Lawyers, failed yesterday to find a magistrate to grant him bail.
But Kone said later he was hopeful that his client would get a fair hearing in court.
Police had refused bail since Baure appeared in court.
Yesterday, at an impromptu hearing at the residence of magistrate Lawrence Kangwia, police rejected Kone’s application for bail.
However, the magistrate ruled that the matter should be heard at a Waigani Committal Court this morning.
Baure told The National at Boroko that he did not understand why he had not been released on bail on his own recognisance.
He had been charged with false assumption of authority and impersonating a public officer.
Police prosecutor Aibare Bosing said Baure had been charged with false pretense under section 97(1)(b) of the Criminal Code.
Baure’s “victory”, though, was being able to organise at least 10 people from his original group of 122 to reach Cape York Peninsula and raise a Papuan “flag” on Australian mainland soil.
The stunt was part of the group’s ongoing struggle for recognition that Papuans were not given a choice to remain as Australians when PNG gained independence in 1975.
Papua covers the southern half of the PNG mainland and the group claimed its members were still Australian
citizens because there was no referendum to legally sever ties with Australia.
Other members of the group were rounded up in Australian waters around the Torres Strait islands and airlifted back to Daru last weekend.
It was during this exercise that Baure was arrested and charged.