By ELIZABETH VUVU
THREE Lihirian men were committed to stand trial in the National Court for obstructing the operations of the Lihir gold mine by trespassing and placing traditional gorgors at the mine site.
Last Friday, Lihir District Court magistrate Bruce Tasikul committed Penias Tadak, Emmanuel Tanle and Philemon Toizik to the National Court, saying there was sufficient evidence to put them on trial.
Mr Tasikul said this was the first time people involved in placing gorgors at the mine site to signify a “stop work” were charged by police and more cases were pending.
The trio appeared before the court on charges that each obstructed the work of Lihir Gold Limited (LGL) by obstructing machinery, appliances and apparatus used, essential for the operation of the mine and its contractors by trespassing and placing gorgors at the mine site.
They were each charged under section 447(b) of the Criminal Code Act which states that a person who, with intent to injure a mine or to obstruct the working of a mine, is guilty of an offence.
According to files tendered, police obtained statements from six witnesses, including the record of interviews from two investigation officers. The witnesses were LGL security officer Jolam Bart, Dennis Cowen of LGL occupational health services, security department’s Sam Gela and LGL security coordinator Garry Oliver.
The evidence by these witnesses clearly identified the three defendants as traditional leaders who led trucks full of people, mostly youths from the village, and forcefully entered the mine site last September.
Upon entering the project site, they placed the gorgors in and within the mine site and, as a result, all operations within the mine came to a halt. They even went to the extent of assaulting some security officers who tried to stop them.
Magistrate Tasikul said due to the complexity and the nature of the evidence, there was sufficient evidence to commit the trio to stand trial in the National Court, fixed on April 5 in Lihir.