By ZEDAIAH KANAU
VICTIMS or complainants do not have the right to withdraw a case when it’s before the courts, a magistrate says.
Waigani Committal Court Magistrate Tracy Ganaii said once a case was listed for committal proceedings, it belonged to the state (and police) and the police had a duty to pursue it until its completion.
Magistrate Ganaii made the remark on Friday after striking out the case of a man charged with three counts of attempted murder because no police file was available to progress the case further.
Magistrate Ganaii struck out the case of Redmond Godara, 47, from Karute village in Yoma, Northern, after an affidavit by the arresting officer stated that one of the three victims requested that the matter be withdrawn.
Magistrate Ganaii said laws would become meaningless when victims requested for cases to be withdrawn.
She said the rule of law would have no effect in our society if people charged with breaking the law were not held accountable because the victim had settled the matter (out of court) and did not want to pursue the matter further in court.
She said that the court process must be followed so a person was held accountable if charged under the criminal code.
The court, she said, would not stop cases halfway because of mediation or compensation, adding that police should have a justifiable reason if they were requesting to withdraw a case.
Magistrate Ganaii said the case arresting officer could re-arrest Godara if files were complete, but to have Godara charged without any police files would be unfair to him.
She said that the law went both ways and that justice was for everyone.
Magistrate Ganaii said the court could not hold a case against Godara if he had been faithfully turning up in court without police producing a file.
She then had the case struck out and ordered Godara’s bail be refunded after police had the case in court for more than 10 months and failed to produce a file.
The alleged offences occurred on Feb 17, 2016, at Hohola Five, Port Moresby.
Godara was formally arrested and charged with the offences on Dec 11, 2019.
Outside court, Godara told The National that he was facing a double whammy after he had paid the victims compensations but they turned on him and took him to court three years later.
“When they accepted this (compensations), why did they bring the matter again?” he said.
It’s a double jeopardy, double penalty,” he said.
“In 2016, they accepted all these things.
“It’s a planned thing.
“They’ve got a search warrant for a firearm just to bring me down to the station and without discharging the firearm, they charged me for an offence that was put to rest four years ago.”
By ZEDAIAH KANAU