Councillors on drug charges


TWO newly elected Madang Urban ward councillors and six others were charged in the Lae District Court yesterday with having dangerous drugs (marijuana) last Thursday.
All eight were denied bail after one of the councillors was slapped with a second charge of illegal possession of an automatic pistol and 15 rounds of live 9mm cartridges.
Magistrate Pious Tapil also refused the bail applications of the two councillors on grounds that the applications were “irregular” as it was submitted over the weekend and also without any guarantors.
Police prosecutor Sgt Vincent Suakai objected their bail applications because Section 9, subsection (1) (a), (i) and (j) [(i) refers to drug cases and (j) refers to firearm cases] of the District Court Bail Act that a person charged with those two charges are for the court to decide upon its discretion to allow bail upon its conditions on the accused and its guarantors.
The defence lawyer argued that the police arresting officers from the Sector Response Unit (SRU 102) did not provide the summary facts or police hand-up brief to facilitate bail application.
The court heard that the lawyer had also taken a court order against the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (or police), that includes the police station commander and metropolitan superintendent, to release the elected councillors – Ishmael Yama, 27, from Usino Bundi in Madang (Ward 6) and Mathew Madeler, 32, from Karavi Village in Kokopo (Rabul), East New Britain (Ward 7) since they were supposed to be sworn in last Friday.
The other six charged were: Kapinias Junior Umong, from Rabaul, East New Britain, Philemon Albert, 23, from Malaguna in Rabaul East New Britain, Pedro Tobi, 21, from Nawaeb in Morobe, Henry Michael, 29, from Yabob in Madang, Philip Tamor, 26, from Manam in Bogia, Madang, Tim Willie, 28, from Kompri in Kainantu in Eastern Highlands.
They were charged with being in control of dangerous drugs.
The lawyer also argued that his clients’ rights were deprived for the police to process their bail application.
However, Suakai said the eight accused were from another province and were not residents of Lae.
“If released on bail, they may go back to their province and will not attend their court cases in Lae,” he said.
“Therefore, a proper bail application should be made with guarantors and conditions so that the defendants will attend all their cases.”
Police reports indicated that the eight accused were travelling in a Toyota Land Cruiser 10 seater from Madang to Lae. They were travelling along Eriku close to Lae Football Association when they were stopped by Lae Police upon tip off and a search was conducted where police found drugs, firearm with live ammunitions and phones containing pornographic pictures and videos.
According to police investigations, the eight were nabbed after SRU102 stopped a Toyota Land Cruiser 10 seater in Eriku near the Lae Football Association grounds for a search following a tip-off.
They were arrested after the drugs, a firearm with live ammunitions and cell phones containing pornographic pictures and videos were found and seized.