The National – Tuesday, June 28, 2011
A POLICEMAN will stand trial in the National Court over the killing of a man which sparked a riot in Kimbe, West New Britain, early this year.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner and chief of operations Fred Yakasa said in a statement yesterday that three others would be committed to stand trial in what is known as the ex-offico indictment.
The announcement came as the dead body of a student was found in a police cell on Saturday morning in neighbouring Kokopo in East New Britain.
Policemen are said to have fired tear gas and stormed into the dormitory on Friday night where they beat up students and dragged off four to the police cells for questioning.
Police Commissioner Tony Wagambie yesterday said any policeman found to have been involved in the death of the student would be dealt with.
Yakasa named the policeman to stand trial over the Kimbe murder as First Const Paul Karl.
Three other policemen who appeared separately for the same offence, but had their cases struck out due to insufficient evidence, were named as Chief Sgt Godfrey Kambania, Const Alex Tokavai and Gabriel Nomu.
All four policemen were charged under section 7 principal offenders of the Criminal Code Act.
Yakasa said section 7 of the Criminal Code Act covered people who were merely present when an offence was committed but did nothing to deter or prevent the offence.
“In this particular case, they are members of the constabulary who have sworn an oath to protect and serve the public.
“By allegedly not doing anything, they are just as guilty of criminal neglect.
“However, in this particular case there was overwhelming evidence proving their involvement in committing the crime.
“We are, therefore, arranging with the state prosecutor’s office to commit the other three to stand trial through the ex-officio indictment,” Yakasa said.
In the meantime, their serious disciplinary offences report had been submitted to internal affairs directorate for speedy adjudication.
Yakasa said the police hierarchy was serious in ensuring members of the constabulary were held accountable.
“Let me make it very clear again that the Wagambie administration will not tolerate undisciplined, abusive, corrupt and unprofessional policemen.
“We will hold all members accountable for their actions or inactions,” Yakasa said.