Aust pilot fined K3,000

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AUSTRALIAN pilot David John Cutmore has been fined K3,000 after admitting in court he had entered the country without a permit and a passport last Sunday.
Cutmore, 52, from Melbourne, flew into the country on a Cessna 402C twin-engine aircraft which police later found partly damaged on a makeshift landing strip near Papa Lealea village outside Port Moresby last Sunday.
Prosecutor Sgt Joseph Sangam asked for the maximum fine of K5000 but Magistrate Tracy Ganaii said police had failed to provide exhibits in court.
“The law states that if there are more aggravating factors, the penalty increases from the half-way mark. If there are more mitigating factors, the penalty reduces from the half-way mark,” Ganaii said.
“In order for the prosecutor to substantiate an amount ahead of the halfway mark even to the maximum, there has to be exhibit to substantiate that entry was associated with some illegal activities such as drug smuggling.
“There’s no exhibit. The court is not informed as to whether or not police are progressing other charges such as charges under the drug laws.
“In relation to fine there’s no aggravating factors to increase the fine. Court is imposing a fine of K3,000.”
According to documents submitted to the court, Cutmore departed from the Mareeba airstrip in Cairns at about 9.30 am, flew over the open seas before landing at an airstrip on the outskirts of Papa-Lealea village.
He met eight unknown men at the airfield and offloaded three television sets, three play stations with remote control and three packages of money before refueling the aircraft with the assistance of the men.
The men loaded the aircraft with 28 bags of cocaine. But because of the weight of the load, the aircraft failed to take off.
He was driven to Port Moresby and booked into a lodge in North Waigani on Sunday.
The aircraft was found the same afternoon by a police team led by deputy police commissioner operations, Donald Yamasombi.
Cutmore turned himself into Australian High Commissioner on Tuesday.
He is detained at the Bomana isolation facility awaiting the payment of his fine.
Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Lekwa Gure told reporters that the Accident Investigation Commission was investigating whether Cutmore had manually turned off the transponder as the plane was not been picked up by the PNG Air Services radar.
“According to PNG Air Services, the pilot did not file a flight plan as they did not have any information about the flight in their system.”

15 comments

  • So PNG Air Services cannot detect this types of aircraft?? Who would be foolish enough to turn on the transponder when the operation is illegal?
    I though our airspace was under surveillance until now..How many other clandestine operations are we not aware of? Definitely this is not the first time.

    I cant believe how foolish and pretentious we are…

    • Imagine what would have happened if he was Papua New Guinean flying into Australia with no flight plans and also involved in smuggling drugs?

  • This seems to be on an going thing that only came to light now because the plane was simply over loaded.

    Did they ask Cutmore if he’s done these types of run into PNG in the past? So many red flags here, this is a serious concern for Australia as well as PNG.

  • Good investigative police work involves arresting, charging and labelling the appropriate charges and ensuring that the culprits are convicted and imprisoned. All the charges including drug smuggling should have been laid. What Kind of incomplete policing is this in PNG?
    We failed to detect this sindicate and their operations. We had all the hard evidence at hand by chance, thanks to their failure. Yet he was only charged for illegal entry and not for drug smuggling and he’s just freed like that.

    It is highly suspicious that the investigation team received bribe, yet they’re claiming to have done a tremendous work. Its “Only in PNG”!!

  • He should not have been released, leave him reside in bomana and let him implicate all his accomplices, arrest those big shots blo PNG.

    PNG Narcotics bureau should be take this full on provide all necessary funding, power and functions to police this global fight against drugs.
    Procecusion must impose tougher penalties even death like countries in Asia.
    One was caught but how many have slipped through without being procecuted.

    PNG must show we are not to be reckoned with and fight this with tooth and nail.

  • He shouldn’t be release, place him and his accomplices at bomana,

    PNG Narcotics bureau should be commissioned to take this head on with powers, functions, funding and all necessary facilities to operate.

    PNG must not be seen as a safe haven for drug lords, we must show examples that we cannot be reckoned with.

    If it warrants death just like Singapore and it be Asian countries so be it.

  • These operation involve police politicians and cooperate business operators …hence need a full blown investigation here on.

  • Colonial Law writers seem to know the way out. Surely the Laws need to be reviewed to protect our young country if we need to help Take Back PNG.

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