Concern over court no-shows


OVER half of the cases in the Waigani Traffic Court are struck out because defendants fail to turn up, a police prosecutor says.
Police prosecutor Sgt John Wamugl expressed this concern to The National after a court session at the Waigani Traffic Court.
He said they recently held a meeting with the magistrates to discuss this issue, especially on traffic defendants who were out on bail but not turning up to court.
Sgt Wamugl also said that most warrants of arrest on people who skipped bail were never executed by the arresting officer.
“Maybe when defendants are arrested, photographs should be taken so when the warrants are issued, they (defendants) can be identified,” he said.
“There is no practice where photographs are attached to the warrant of arrests.
“All the money received from bail are forfeited to the state because defendants are not coming to court.
“We are making around K20,000 a month as forfeited money, forfeited to the state, especially on those whose matters are struck out and bail forfeited to the state.
“Is that the justice we are getting?
“I don’t think so.
“The whole idea is to arrest people and bring them to court and the court should impose justice, but we don’t get it.”
Sgt Wamugl said only a handful were turning up in court but most of them were not coming and the authorities needed to improve on that.
He said 4-Mile traffic police needed to have a warrant of arrest section so warrant of arrests (on defendants) could be taken out and defendant’s brought to court.
“The traffic court is trying its best to impose penalties and if we get people to court then they’ll get the message.”
Sgt Wamugl said police could refuse bail to people unlikely to appear in court as stipulated in section 9 of the Bail Act.