District court strikes out cases

Main Stories, National

The National, Monday 20th August, 2012

THE Waigani District court has struck out several serious criminal cases, including one of sexual penetration of a minor, because of police inefficiency.
Thrown out for the same reason on Friday was a conspiracy and dishonesty case involving K155,000
Magistrates and judges have struck out other similar cases in frustration recently because police could not prepare cases and evidence months after charging alleged offenders.
Last Friday the district court struck out a case against a young man charged with sexual penetration of a minor.
The accused walked a free man from the court, obviously relieved, and could not hide his smile.
Magistrate Cosmas Bidar said the case had dragged on for three months and police had no evidence to tender.
“To date no instructions have been forth-coming,” Magistrate Bidar told the accused who did not have a counsel.
“The court considers that your charge is struck out.”
The court said it was not a complicated case but police did not do their job.
He had also struck out a wilful damage charge against another man because the case had dragged on for more than three months and police did not have an adequate file on the case to show.
In another case, the court was asked to strike out a conspiracy charge against a young man from Maopa village in Abau district.
The man was charged with conspiracy and dishonesty after using K155,00 from the Bank South Pacific  personally.
The offence was alleged to have been committed on July 19 and 20 between the bank’s Waigani and Boroko branches.
The man’s lawyer from the public solicitors argued that the conspiracy charge be struck out because police had yet to arrest his co-accused and three others.
“One person cannot conspire with himself or herself,” Bidar agreed.
“It’s a question of whether the charge can sustain itself.”
The money was said to be for Twivey Lawyers.
Bidar stressed that if people were arrested, they had to be properly charged and brought for trial as soon as possible.
“It’s not law, it’s the efficient, effective job by people to carry out their duties,” he said.
Magistrate Rosie Johnson had struck out several cases the previous week because of police inefficiency as well.
She was disappointed and told prosecutor Koniu Polon that accused people could not be held in custody without police files made ready in time.
“You don’t need to allow three months before an investigation can be put together,” Johnson said.
“The law says the accused should be dealt with within reasonable time.
It can be two weeks,” she said.