Court frees five officers in 2015 murder case


Five Port Moresby-based police officers charged with the murder of a man two years ago were acquitted by the Waigani National Court on Friday.
Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika acquitted Sergeant Philip Pokop, from Manus, Constable Ian Gunawi, from East Sepik, Constable Lawrance Sausau, from Manus, Chief Inspector Mariah Jones, from East Sepik and Jeffery Sheekiot, from Madang, after the court found that there was insufficient evidence against them.
The officers were charged with the murder of Salle Naime Tom, on June 17, 2015, at Tatana village outside the National Capital District.
The court heard that Tom was a suspect in the murder of Harold Farapo and officers had gone into Tatana to investigate that murder.
Sir Gibbs acquitted the five police officers after the court found that the ballistics used in the murder did not match any weapon during the ballistic examination.
The court also found that the police officers could not be identified by the State as to who fired the shot.
The court also found that there were more than 20 policemen there at the time of the shooting, but only five were accused of murder.
The court was also of the view that the accused five could not be identified by the State in terms of who fired the shots.
Sir Gibbs told the court that the investigation could have been done better. He also advised the relatives of the deceased to pursue a civil suit regarding the conduct of the police officers prior to the Tom’s death.
Sir Gibbs said that the court found that the manner in which police used to go into Tatana to pursue the victim was unlawful because they did not follow proper processes.