No-case appeal for 14 co-accused rejected

National, Normal

The National – Friday, December 10, 2010

THE no case submissions of the 14 co-accused in the Madang Bank South Pacific (BSP) robbery have been refused by Judge David Cannings yesterday with the trial for all three indictments to proceed.
The indictments are conspiracy and armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom and deprivation of liberty and receiving stolen property.
This means that the 14, to whom Judge Cannings individually gave brief reasons as to the evidence or elements found against them, now have the choice to either take the witness box to testify or exercise their right to remain silent with only written submissions to be made by their lawyers.
He stressed during his ruling yesterday morning that the question was whether or not thee was some elements or even “more than a scintilla of evidence that was not neither weak, tainted or unreliable to answer to and if the answer was yes then the court had a discretion to exercise.”
He was stressing that all 14 were not facing similar charges therefore it was necessary to consider each no case submission on individual basis.
From his ruling he conceded that William Kapris had indeed organised and controlled the carrying out of the robbery and the kidnapping and detention although there wasn’t evidence present to state that he was actually present. But said that that fact, did not lead to the fact that the robbery did not take place.
For the others he said that there was circumstantial evidence which had a carry- over effect on the other charges as “no more than a scintilla of evidence” to say that they did have a case to answer.
State prosecutor Kaluwin Pondros on Tuesday mentioned that the state did not find anything on Kia Warren, one of the co-accused to be further remanded but Cannings said to proceed with his case as well.
The decision which had surprised the defence team, and explained to the detainees for them between now and Monday when it resumes, is to find witnesses or to take the stand themselves.
“It doesn’t mean that the court has found you guilty it means it is a time where you can call witnesses or provide evidence to prove your innocence but you are not under any obligation to do so. You have the right to remain silent but if you wish to give sworn evidence you may be cross examined,” he said.
Cannings also told them to seek advise from their lawyers before the next four days in which he has set aside for the hearing.