By JAMES APA GUMUNO
A BUSINESSMAN from Tambul, Western Highlands, has been awarded K77,000 in damages for losses suffered during the Bank South Pacific robbery in 2002.
The National Court yesterday ruled that police had failed to exercise caution in a shootout with the robbers.
In their getaway ,the robbers held up Maltol Oke, pulled him from his Mazda Dyna truck, and sped off with trade store goods.
TWhen the robbers got into the truck and tried to drive off, police shot the tires, forcing the truck to hit the flower beds at the roundabout near Hagen Plaza.
The truck was badly damaged and the goods in the vehicle were looted.
Justice Colin Makail ordered the state to pay K77,224.01
to Mr Oke for the repair of the vehicle, loss of retail store goods, interest, distress, pain and disappointment.
The court found that there was negligence on the part of police by unnecessarily firing at the vehicle and damaging it.
Mr Makail said police did not exercise caution while firing at the robbers, resulting in an innocent man suffering damages to his vehicle and loss of goods.
Plaintiff’s counsel, Danny Gonol, asked the court for exemplary damages and loss of business but the court denied the demand.
Justice Makail said he could not accept the testimony of Geoff Luna, an accountant from Fair Business Consultants, for loss of profit because his evidence was based on hearsay from Mr Oke.
No primary document was produced to support the demand for exemplary and business loss.
Mr Gonol said he will appeal the decision if possible.