More witnesses to testify in ferry trial

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The National,Friday June 17th, 2016

MORE witnesses are expected to be called to testify in the mv Rabaul Queen ferry trial in the Kokopo (East New Britain) National Court.
On trial are ferry owner Captain Peter Sharp and the ferry’s captain at the time, Captain Anthony Tsiau, both facing charges 172 counts of manslaughter. Others are also on trial.
Since the trial resumed on Tuesday, three witnesses have testified.
Yesterday morning saw defence lawyers complete their cross examination of the assistant director of National Weather Services Jimmy Gomoga.
State prosecutor Paul Bannister told the court that more witnesses were on their way from Lae and Kimbe.
These included Henry Kepas, from the Angau Memorial Hospital who was responsible for collecting names of survivors after the ferry sank, John Benjamin from PNG PortsLae, Junior John Kembu, from Kimbe and a survivor and a former captain, Paul Daniel, from Vanimo, who once piloted the Rabaul Queen.
Bannister said the witnesses from Lae were supposed to have arrived in Kokopo by yesterday afternoon and would testify today. “Steps have been taken with the New Ireland Governor, Sir Julius Chan, to help in travel arrangements for five witnesses from New Ireland,” Bannister said.
The five witnesses from New Ireland are four survivors and a relative of a survivor.
They are expected to give evidence on Monday.
Justice Terrence Higgins, presiding over the trial, asked if statements had been made available. Bannister confirmed that it had been done.
“We will be talking to the arresting officers to ensure witnesses are prepared so we are able to present them when they arrive in Kokopo,” Bannister said.