Court house opens at Bomana prison

National, Normal


THE Law and Justice Sector marked a historic occasion last Friday with the opening of a new court house at Bomana Correctional Institute outside Port Moresby.
Correctional Services Commissioner Richard Sikani said it was significant and a first-of-its-kind for PNG to have a court house in a prison to effectively hear cases against convicted offenders and remandees.
“Building court houses in prisons will enable the CS, police and courts to have one-stop shop to the processing of the alleged offenders’ cases quickly,” he said.
Major prison facilities were located out of towns and transporting the detainees to and from court houses back to jails was sometimes difficult for the CS when it had to deal with limited resources like vehicles, fuel costs and manpower, Sikani said.
He said that under the 10-15 years infrastructure demolition and reconstruction plan, the CS would continue to build court houses within its correctional institution establishments.
Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish described the project as “triumph of partnership, an extraordinary achievement”, applauding the level of cooperation between the CS and the PNG Law and Justice Sector, calling it a case of key agencies identifying the problem and put ting resources together and making it happen.
“The commitment to support remains there with us to ensure our system is the best it can be.”
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said: “This project is a joint effort by all law and justice sector agencies to bring services to where the benefactors of those services are.
“It is a new initiative to build court houses in jail. It’s an initiative the Judicial Committee came up with.
“It is a new concept. Not many anticipated that it would happen in our time. The court owns the building, runs and maintain it.
“The objective of the court facility is to provide easy access to prisoners and remandees so that cases can be processed quickly.
“Under the law, court hearing is not to be conducted outside of the recognised court facilities.
“A suggestion was made to all the judges and they agreed to have a court house here at Bomana.”
Funding for the court house came from AusAID which contributed K700,000, the government through counterpart funding and other stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Sikanithanked the government of Australia and PNG for their funding to help build the Bomana court house.
He said, in the past, it was very difficult with the limited resources available to transport prisoners to the town court houses.
Sikani thanked the judicial commission for supporting the idea to establish a court house at Bomana.
“Most importantly, I would like to thank AusAID, the taxpayers of Australia and its government for co-funding the building of the Bomana court house.
“We also extend gratitude and appreciation to Tony Voss and former chief magistrate John Numapo for their efforts and assistance given in the establishment of the Bomana court house.”