Eluh wins assault case

National, Normal

ON March 28, 2007 a group of policemen stopped Chief Supt Thomas Eluh at Gordon, dragged him out of his car, and in front of his 10-year-old son, punched and kicked him.
They continued even while he was on the ground, pleading for mercy, until he was severely beaten and bleeding, his face cut and swollen and his body bruised.
The policemen carried out this criminal attack, apparently with the full knowledge of their superior, because at that time Eluh was “on the other side” of the divide in the police force.
Although the policemen who attacked him were known, no disciplinary action was taken against them.
Instead, Eluh was transferred to Mt Hagen as the Western Highlands police commander, and then to Bougainville, away from police headquarters.
Eluh sued two senior police officers, suspended Police Commissioner Gari Baki, and the State. If the policemen had any reason for the treatment they dished out to Eluh, they never turned up to defend themselves. Baki also did not turn up to fight the writ lodged in 2008.
This week, a default judgement was awarded by the National Court in favour of Eluh. Damage will be assessed and the policemen and Baki will pay whatever the court assesses to be fitting compensation for what Eluh suffered.
Taxpayers will also pay because the state had been made a defendant.
Justice Bernard Sakora handed down the ruling on Tuesday in Waigani.
The defendants in this case are Insp Sengi Laki, Alfred Reu, then assistant commissioner of police and NCD divisional police commander, Baki and the state.
Elluh was allegedly beaten up in the presence of his 10-year-old son who was in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
He was travelling to Boroko from Bomana Police College.
At Gordon, first defendant Laki, who was in the company of other junior officers, stopped Eluh and attacked him.
Court files stated that Eluh was assaulted “without any good reason or lawful justification in full view of his son and the public, next to the Gordon police station”.
He was then taken to the Waigani police station where he was allegedly further assaulted and detained without any formal arrest or charges for several hours.
Sakora granted the default judgment pursuant to National Court Rules after the defendants failed to file any defence.