By ZEDAIAH KANAU
A 35-YEAR-OLD policeman charged with murder was denied bail by the Waigani National Court yesterday and had him remanded in Bomana.
Justice Teresa Berrigan, rejecting Constable Japhet Muka’s bail application, said: “You have been charged with a brutal crime and you have also failed to show exceptional circumstances (for bail).”
The state prosecutor had earlier objected to Muka’s bail application.
Muka was charged with shooting and killing a man at Gaire Fish Market along the Magi Highway on March 26.
Justice Berrigan said when a person was charged murder, “the presumption in favour of bail does not apply”.
“Where the State opposes bail, it should nevertheless establish that one of the circumstances in section 9 of the Bail Act apply,” she said.
“Muka must establish that exceptional circumstances makes his continued detention unjustified.
“Muka’s grounds for bail were that he was the sole breadwinner of his family, loss of employment and his safety and wellbeing.
“Muka’s detention and the impact on his family is regrettable but inevitable consequence of the criminal process when a person is charged with a very serious criminal offence.
“The applicant expresses concern for his wellbeing and safety in Bomana, given that he has been involved in the capture of various criminal who are now serving sentence. No details are provided.”
Justice Berrigan said Muka’s safety are matters which must be managed by the Bomana Correctional Institute.
“To suggest that mere concern provides an exceptional circumstance warranting bail would mean that no police officer would ever find himself in detention pending criminal proceedings,” she said.
Justice Berrigan said there was evidence of hypertension and dyslipidaemia.
“The doctor’s concern is that it may deteriorate due to stress but there is no evidence that his condition cannot be managed in custody,” she added.
“I am not satisfied that Muka has established exceptional circumstances warranting bail. The application is refused.”
According to court documents, it was alleged that between 7pm and 8pm, on March 26, Muka, a policeman attached to Central’s police highway patrol was on duty when he and his colleague stopped at the market.
Muka allegedly called the deceased over for questioning.
During the conversation, Muka allegedly pushed open the door and knocked the deceased to the ground.
The deceased struggled to his feet and started to run away when Muka allegedly fired two shots, the first through the back of his head, killing him instantly.
Muka and his colleague drove away immediately.
Market vendors then rushed the deceased to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The following day police could not locate Muka who allegedly went into hiding in 17-Mile outside Port Moresby but he later surrendered.
By ZEDAIAH KANAU