Damages claims against state, Baki dismissed


THE Waigani National Court has dismissed claims for damages sought against the State, former police commissioner Gari Baki and Waigani police station over alleged police brutality 13 years ago.
Justice Ere Kariko yesterday ruled that the incident on Sept 21, 2007 in which a taxi driver was allegedly assaulted and robbed by five policemen was an act the officers committed outside the domain of their authorised duties.
Justice Kariko in his ruling upheld the submission from a lawyer representing the State and Baki, who argued that claims of damages sought against the State and the commissioner be dismissed for the reason that the unlawful acts of assault and stealing amounted to criminal conduct committed outside authorised duties of the policemen.
“I am convinced that at the time, they (policemen) were not performing nor purporting to perform their functions and duties as policemen” Justice Kariko said.
“The assault and robbery amounted to criminal conduct, I find that they were acting outside the domain of their authorised functions and duties.
“I hold the State not viciously liable for the conduct of the first five defendants (policemen),” he added.
Robert But alleged that he was pulled up by five policemen while driving his taxi towards the roundabout at 5-Mile, Port Moresby.
He was ordered out of the vehicle and was assaulted when he refused to the policemen’s request for money.
He was allegedly punched to the ground, the policemen took his wallet containing his driver’s licence and K330,” But claimed.