Decision expected on ballot paper arson case

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday June 28th, 2013

THE lawyer for defendants accused of burning ballot papers in Jiwaka  filed a submission in the Mt Hagen district court yesterday to dismiss the case.
Robin Yallon of Yallon and Associates, acting on behalf of the seven defendants – Paul Kes Kaman, John Lepa Mangi, Michael Tau Kenzie, Thomson Tolai Kauke, James Bombe, Otto Du and Korki Pup – submitted that a police brief against his clients was done in haste with many flaws, errors and defects.
The defendants face charges of arson, armed robbery, unlawful use of motor vehicle, conspiracy to commit a crime and conspiracy and attempt to pervert justice.
Yallon submitted there was no real evidence provided to establish a prima facie case.
He said state witnesses did not fully understand the contents of their statements, the police investigation team and prosecution failed to identify and establish all the elements of the charges.
Yallon submitted that the prosecution and investigation team heavily relied on circumstantial evidence, which was inadmissible and not sufficient to commit the defendants to the National Court.
Yallon submitted that police unlawfully obtained some of the statements and falsified some statements from a witness.
He said based on that, the court could not safely say there was a prima facie case against all the defendants.
He submitted all the cases against the defendants be dismissed and the defendants be discharged.
Magistrate Jerrymaiah Singomat is expected to make a decision today.