The National, Monday 27th May 2013
A GROUP of 16 expatriates accused of breaching their visa conditions had their cases dismissed by a magistrate last Friday.
Lae District Court magistrate Posain Poloh dismissed the cases because the state failed to give evidence.
He said despite being foreigners, they had the right as accused persons of having their cases heard within a reasonable time as stipulated in the Constitution.
The 16 were Wu Wei, Chen Donghua, Feng Xianwang, Wen Meili, Shen Mouneng, Liu Likui, Yu Zhilan, Lin Zinlian, Lin Xianxian, Desong Eng, Wei Junyi, Deng Feng, Li Zuochun, Zheng Jian, Yao Ming and Xiuling all from China.
On Wednesday last week, six Chinese and a Bangladesh man had their cases dismissed on similar grounds by Poloh.
The 16 were part of more than 30 foreigners charged in Lae and Morobe last month by the Task Force Rausim Alien with breaching their visa conditions and for illegally staying in the country.
Key state witness John Bria who was supposed to provide evidence was away in Malaysia and could not attend the case.
Bria is the coordinator of Task Force Rausim Alien, a Port Moresby-based state agency tasked to remove illegal foreigners living in the country.
“One man cannot hold the court at ransom. I have to keep to my schedule,” Poloh said.
Police prosecutor Vincent Suakai had asked the court if the matter could be adjourned to give time for Bria to return from overseas.
Poloh said Bria was aware of the case and one month was ample time to prepare himself.
“Your application for adjournment is rejected. I will proceed with the ruling,” Poloh told the prosecutor.
Poloh also ordered that the K5,000 bail money of each of the 16 be refunded.