Theft forces Hagen district court to close

National, Normal


THE Mt Hagen district court has shut its doors for an indefinite period.
The court house closed yesterday after some thugs broke into the court’s registry office on Tuesday night and walked away with three computers containing court files and documents.
Thieves cut through the fence, beat up a security guard and forced the door to the office open before taking off with three computers.
These computers, for the registry enhancement programme, were presented to the district court by AusAID through its Law and Justice Sector programme in mid 2008.
Of these computers, one contained traffic cases, village court appeals, statistics, court fines and revenues.
The second computer contained committal and district court summons files, while the third contained juvenile files, grade five criminal and civil files as well as statistics and juvenile reports.
These computers also contain data entries and statistics for the Enga and Southern Highlands provinces, and disqualified cases from the new Jiwaka province.
Chief magistrate Thomas Morabang said without the computers, cases could not be updated, and, therefore, the registry had to be closed for an indefinite period.
He said this also meant that court remandees in police custody could not face committal proceedings and juvenile and grade five cases would be affected.
He said certificates of discharge, normally issued after bail or fines were processed, could not be issued.
Mr Morabang said there had been a break and enter attempt two weeks ago and even though authorities had been alerted on security concerns, nothing had been done so far.
He also wanted local leaders to recover the stolen computers and assured them such thing would not happen in the future. If not, court services would completely cease.
Police are currently carrying out investigations.