Court slams police

The National, Monday July 11th, 2016

THE inability of police to prosecute criminal cases has been a waste of time and a matter of serious concern, a senior provincial magistrate told the Kundiawa District Court on Friday.
Magistrate Bill Noki’s criticism of police is the latest by a magistrate or judge after numerous cases continue to be thrown out by the courts around the country due to police files not being ready, lost or for lack of evidence.
Port Moresby courts have seen at least three to five cases being thrown out each week and senior magistrates like Cosmas Bidar lambasting police for inefficiency, unreliability or inability to present cases in time or in a proper manner.
On a number of occasions police officers have been in turn prosecuted for contempt.
A police inspector in Port Moresby was picked out for his poor standard of written English in reports last week. Boroko District Court magistrate Alex Kalandi said the reports were such that it made the work of courts extremely difficult.
Noki said the prosecution should make it its business to properly prosecute criminal cases within the required time.
“Failure to have files ready for the court to deal with matters has been a waste of the court’s time and also parties involved,” he said.
Noki dismissed a criminal case against former chief executive officer of the Sinasina-Yongumugl district Bal Numapo for lack of police prosecution files.
“It has taken the police prosecution seven months and the file is not yet ready. They were supposed to complete the preparation of files within a period of three months as required under section 37 of the constitution,” Noki said.
Numapo, a former PNG Kumul rugby league captain, was arrested and charged with misappropriation of public funds belonging to the people of the Sinasina-Yongumugl district.
Numapo said outside court that he was relieved and knew all along there was no case to answer.
Numapo said the allegation was perpetrated by people with vested interest who then conspired with law enforcement agencies to have him arrested and charged.
“Police cannot find anything against me so it took them seven months and even then the files were not complete,” he told The National.
He said it was the prerogative of the provincial administrator to reinstate him.
“I upheld the integrity of the public office by standing aside to pave the way for the competent court of this land to determine my case and now the court has handed down its ruling,” he said.
“I will also file a lawsuit against the State and its agents for unlawful detention and malicious prosecution.”