Court summons Kulunga, Bawa, solicitor to explain

National, Normal

The National, Monday March 3rd, 2014

 THE National Court has summoned Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga, senior police officer Andy Bawa and Public Solicitor Frazier Pitpit to explain what steps they have taken to deal with an alleged police brutality case.

The case relates to the alleged assault of 74 men at 7-Mile in the National Capital District on May 26 last year.   

Justice David Cannings summoned Kulunga, National Capital District metropolitan commander Supt Bawa and Pitpit to appear in court on March 26 to address unresolved issues arising out of the inquiry. 

Cannings refused to close the inquiry as he was not satisfied with the response of the police and the Public Solicitor.

Cannings found that steps police took to respond to the allegations and the court’s inquiry were “woefully inadequate”. 

The Public Solicitor’s response was “barely adequate, too slow and reactive”. 

The inquiry held that extremely serious and genuine allegation of human rights violations existed among police officers in regard to the incident. 

The inquiry found no evidence of any member being charged with a disciplinary offence under the Police Act, despite clear evidence of a breakdown in discipline, command and control during the apprehension of the suspects. 

“The excuses given for not taking more decisive and speedy action are poor, demonstrating a lack of professionalism and commitment to the professed task of dealing firmly with members of the force who are alleged to have been guilty of police brutality,” Cannings said. 

The 74 men from Morobe were returning from a peace mediation with the Sepiks at 8-Mile, supervised by police, relating to an ethnic clash.

The tension arose as a result of the death of a Morobe youth allegedly killed by Sepik youths the previous day. 

The men were armed and walking back home along the road when they were allegedly assaulted by police on their ankles and Achilles tendons. 

The court invoked section 57 of the Constitution to protect and enforce the human rights of those who appeared to be victims of police brutality. 

Cannings commenced the proceedings by way of an inquiry to make findings as to the details of the allegations and determine how serious and genuine they were.