K1.4m heist four go free

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday July 24th, 2013

 FOUR men accused of armed robbery involving more than K1.4 million in 2011 have been freed by the court because police failed to properly conduct investigations into the matter.

Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika last Thursday set free George Toto Ivaroa, Kim Kare Ephraim, Collin Sagoroba and Max Mea Hardie, from Gulf, Central and Oro provinces, and ordered their bail money be refunded.

The men had been charged with a count each of conspiracy to commit robbery and a count each of robbery in 2011.

Salika refused to accept a police record of interview in relation to the armed hold-up because the four were not told of their rights to legal representation.

The prosecution bid to have the record of interview tendered in court so the matter could proceed to trial failed when none of its witnesses could identify the suspects.

Senior State Prosecutor Anthony Kupmain told the court minutes after Salika had refused the police record of interview they were closing the case. 

The four men were alleged to have conspired with employees of a security firm to commit the robbery on Sept 12, 2011.

Five employees of Corps Security firm were transporting K1,451,396.54 from its base to the Westpac Bank in Waigani when they were held up at gunpoint and robbed on Frangipani Street in Hohola, behind the Bishop Brothers premises.