Change of lawyer forces judge to defer sentence

National, Normal


THE National Court has deferred the sentencing of three Engans who were found guilty of murder following an application by one of the convicted men to change lawyers.
Kopol Kepao, 24, Laurie Puagari, 36, and Raywill Parapen, 23, were in court last Friday for the hearing.
All three convicted men were represented by Adam Ninkama of Paul Paraka Lawyers during the trial, and when one other lawyer informed the court that he was appearing for Parapen, Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika asked whether he had filed the proper papers to show for his appearance, to which the lawyer he had not done so.
A visibly irritated Salika sternly rebuked the lawyer for the application to represent the convict at this stage of the court proceedings.
“That’s what you find yourselves in when you’re given instructions. Today’s date is the day for making submissions on sentences. There is a word called ‘No’, I will not accept instructions. Ask the client where the stage of the proceedings is,” he rebuked the lawyer.
“What are you going to do? What can’t Ninkama do? Sometimes it can be an insult to your friend, an insult to their intelligence and ability,” Salika added.
He told the lawyers to sort out the application with their clients before briefly adjourning the case.
At resumption, Ninkama told the court that he would not be representing Parapen however, the judge told both lawyers to file papers to show the change in lawyers. Salika then adjourned the case to next month.
The three men were convicted for the murder of Buka Ismael on March 9, 2008, at Gerehu Stage 4, the result of a fight after a beer-drinking session.
Ismael and the three men, together with several others had been drinking beer at Joy Ismael’s house between March 8 and 9, 2008, when the killing happened.