Prosecutor hints at reviving case against retired colonel

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday August 07th, 2012

THE case against Colonel Yaura Sasa (retired), who tried to forcefully take over the Defence Force commander’s post last January, could be resurrected because the case was “struck out” and not dismissed, police say.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Ambrose Gilio said yesterday Principal Magistrate, Cosmas Bidar, had said last Tuesday at a committal hearing that there was insufficient evidence to commit Sasa so the case should be put-off.
“He (Bidar) did not dismiss the case,” Gilio said.
“If new evidence surfaces or if police decide to pursue the case further, we can.”
Gilio said the magistrate struck out the case because witnesses could not provide evidence.
The arresting officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police Thomas Eluh, was busy commanding security personnel in Hela during the elections and could not provide witnesses and their statements for the hearings, he said.
“Police failed to compile evidence within a reasonable time therefore his (Sasa’s) lawyer asked the court to dismiss the case,” Gilio said.
He said although not required by law, the practice was that police must provide evidence within three months if it has a case against someone in the Committal Court.
“That time was up and the case was struck out,” Gilio said.
Sasa led a detachment of soldiers loyal to him to the PNGDF headquarters in Murray Barracks, Port Moresby, on Jan 26 to oust Brig-Gen Francis Agwi and take control of the army.
Sasa said he was the legitimate commander appointed by a legitimate government.
His aim was to re-instate Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare who claim to be the legitimate prime minister recognised by a Supreme Court decision.
He was arrested and charged with mutiney.
This happened during the political impasse between Peter O’Neill and Sir Michael who both claimed to head legitimate governments.
The incident ended in just hours when forces loyal to the O’Neill government regained control of the barracks.
Sasa was arrested and charged with mutiny on January 28.