By JULIA DAIA BORE
PRISON escapee Oliver Benny Gabi was jailed for six months with hard labour after pleading guilty to escaping from the Bomana maximum security facility on Jan 12.
He was caught on Saturday in the hills of Sogeri, and was charged under section 139 of the Criminal Code, for escaping from lawful custody.
Gabi pleaded guilty in the Boroko District magistrate’s court yesterday morning.
Police prosecutor Elias Yohang read out the charges that Gabi escaped from the facility on Jan 12 with 11 others, considered to be high-risk prisoners.
Magistrate Nerrie Eliakim asked Gabi for his plea, to which he said “guilty” as charged.
Magistrate Eliakim then jailed him for six months with hard labour.
Gabi, who is from Dumbit village in Maprik in East Sepik province, was in the Bomana prison awaiting National Court hearings on charges of being “an accessory” in the Bank South Pacific robbery in Madang in 2008.
He was one of 24suspects charged in July and August of 2008 with being involved in the robbery.
Police alleged that he, along with William Kapris Nanua, robbed the Kerema and Madang BSP bank branches.
He will serve time in Bomana, while awaiting court hearings on the robbery charges.
Meanwhile, in court yesterday, State lawyers were seeking guidance from the National Court on the right procedures to apply for bench warrants for the arrest of the 11 fugitives who are still on the run.
The matter came before Justice Ere Kariko who raised certain issues which he thought should be fully clarified before submissions proper were made before him.
Among the points the judge raised for State lawyers to consider were that of the 12 escapees, five were remandees.
He said bench warrants could be issued for the remandees but that could not be done for the convicted prisoners.
By law, they have to be recaptured by the police, and fresh charges laid against them.
If they go missing, then warrants of arrests could be issued for their arrest.
He pointed out that in law there were different situations to seek warrants of arrests.
Justice Kariko adjourned the matter for hearing tomorrow, advising the lawyers to go back to their superiors before resubmitting their application.