State to pay K585,000 for police negligence

National, Normal


THE National Court in Madang has recently ordered the State to pay more than K580,000 in damages to a Madang- based medical doctor and his family as a result of deliberate police negligence and failure to protect the doctor’s properties during a raid in 2006.
Dr Alois Kawa had several of his properties destroyed in a raid by settlers of Gum village in the outskirts of Madang.
The properties destroyed included his residential house, a guest house, a vehicle, a workshop, a restaurant which include a guest bar and canteen, and other personal effects.
Prior to the raid in 2002, Dr Kawa had been in conflict with the villagers and obtained a National Court order in 2004 restraining the villagers from entering his premises and threatening or intimidating him and his family.
The court was told that Dr Kawa delivered the order to the local police and asked them to serve it on the villagers but the police failed to deliver and enforce the order, which later resulted in the raid.
Dr Kawa was also assaulted and sustained severe injuries during the raid.
Dr Kawa instituted proceedings in 2008 against the commissioner of police and the State for the negligence of police.
He claimed damages during the raid totalled K19.5 million.
While assessing the amounts claimed, Justice David Cannings found that Dr Kawa had failed to mitigate his losses properly.
Justice Canning said the amounts sought for each property were too high and contradictory to the evidence brought before court. 
The Judge used the courts discretion to reassess the damages and determine an appropriate sum.
Justice Cannings ordered that Dr Kawa be paid K441,000 and a further K144,648 for interest.