Magistrate reminds police to have files ready

Main Stories, National

The National, Wednesday 22nd August 2012

WAIGANI committal court magistrate Rosie Johnson has reminded police that if they charge a person, they have to complete the task by finalising investigations so the accused can go on trial.
Johnson made her comments in court yesterday after police prosecution, several times in the past three weeks, failed to have files ready for accused persons, and after a three-month lapse the court would have to strike out cases.
Another magistrate, Cosmas Bidar raised similar concerns in his court this week.
Bidar’s concern was that charges should be without ambiguity and that they could be sustained in court.
Yesterday, Johnson struck out a misappropriation case against one Anton Sekum for want of prosecution.
“Charging somebody is not a game and we will not take it lightly,” she said.
“It’s not good to charge somebody
“And it encroaches on their democratic right.”
Johnson told Sekum: “There was no need for you to come before the court.”
She stressed that police prosecution and investigators need to work together in prosecuting cases.
“The prosecutor relies on the investigator,” Johnson said.
“So it is the team work. If someone fails, it’s a flaw.”
Sekum was charged four months ago but police had yet to put their files together.
“You’re put through some kind of stress,” Johnson said.
She reminded Sekum that police could re-arrest him and they would need to prepare his files immediately.
“When they (police) do so, they will have to serve a completed investigation file.
“We’ve got to be thinking about people’s rights and the system,” Johnson said.