By JACOB POK
A 50-YEAR-old man, who was charged with sexual penetration of two underage girls, was found not guilty of the charges and released by the Waigani National Court yesterday.
Philip Helwali, an ex-serviceman, was alleged to have committed the offence between Jan 1 and Oct 24, 2004, at Sabama settlement on the outskirts of Port Moresby.
The court was told that Helwali had allegedly molested the two seven-year-old girls on separate occasions and sexually penetrated them.
The matter was set for trial and both the State and the accused’s witnesses gave evidence before the court.
The State witnesses included the two victims and the doctor who carried out the medical checks on the victims after the alleged incidents.
Both girls testified that Helwali had sexually penetrated them at different locations.
The first victim said Helwali took her to a water place while the other said she was forced into a pig house.
The court was told that both incidents occurred around mid-day.
The doctor also gave evidence of the medical reports and other relevant information on the status of the victims.
However, Helwali maintained that he had not committed the offence and that the girls were lying because their parents had forced them to.
He told the court that the victims parents lodged false allegations against him to claim compensation in terms of pigs and money.
He further said the parents were reluctant to report the matter to the police and demanded compensation when the matter was first discussed at a community gathering, adding that the matter was later reported to the police by one of his relatives when the victims relatives tried to attack him.
After going through the submissions, presiding judge Justice Pomat Paliau found that the evidence provided by the victims was inconsistent when they both testified that they did not feel any pain when the accused sexually penetrated them.
The judge found that the victims were told to say what they said, and therefore, dismissed the entire matter and acquitted Helwali from the charges.