The National, Monday July 1st, 2013
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
THE Mt Hagen District Court dismissed, for lack of evidence, the case involving seven people accused of burning the Jiwaka regional ballot papers in Banz last year.
Senior District Court magistrate, Jeremaiah Singomat’s decision set free Paul Kes Kaman, John Lepa Mangi, Michael Tau Kenzie, Thomson Tolai Kauke, James Bombie, Otto Du Mong and Korki Pup.
Singomat said there was no substantial evidence sufficient enough to commit the defendants to the National Court.
The court said no certificates of interpretation were attached to statements from five witnesses as required by the District Court Act.
They did not speak English and did not understand well what was written on their statements and there was serious doubts as to whether they understood English and what was on their statements.
During the cross examination, they replied to questions put to them by the counsel of the defendants in Tok Pisin.
The court found various instances of conflicting evidence and names provided other than the true identity of persons.
The court further dismissed an arm robbery charge against Kaman and Mangi, the two policemen, because there was no evidence provided other than statements.
Singomat dismissed the charges and ordered their bail money be refunded.
Kaman and Mangi were out on a K3000 bail each while the rest were on K2400 each.
The court made the ruling after the counsel for the defendants, Robin Yallon, of Yallon and Associate Lawyers, made a submission last Thursday stating that the statements of the state witnesses and evidence did not establish prima facie cases against all the defendants.
Yallon submitted to the court that the police investigation team and prosecution failed to identify and established all the elements of the charges laid against the defendants’ respective crime.
The court earlier discharged three accused – Andrew Mangi, Morris Millen and Martin Tongamp – due to lack of evidence.
Their bail money was also refunded.