THE Baruni man accused of double murder was fast asleep in his house when the killings allegedly took place, his wife told the National Court sitting at Waigani yesterday.
Rose Mary Hariki, appearing as a defence witness, said her husband Arua Maraga Hariki had retired from a drinking session with a group of men under their house at about midnight.
She said he had come upstairs to their living quarters where she had warmed his dinner.
He ate and then went to sleep soon after.
The next day, a group of men came to their house to inform them that two young men from neighbouring Tatana village were missing, the court was told.
Later, Hariki was arrested and charged with double murder, Rose Mary said.
Hariki had been convicted and sentenced to death by hanging in 2001 after being found guilty of the double murder charged.
However, after a successful appeal to the Supreme Court in 2003, one murder charge was dropped and a retrial ordered.
He is now charged with one wilful murder – that he had, between March 31, 2001, and April 2, 2001, wilfully murdered Heni Veidiho.
Hariki’s lawyers called two other witnesses to rebut State witness John Naime’s evidence that he and Hariki were together in the early hours of their drinking session and that he saw Hariki strangle Veidiho to death.
Fred Maraga told the court that Naime had been dropped off at his Tatana home at about midnight on March 31.
He said he, Homoka Koae and Electoral Commission driver Tony Pomio dropped him off at his village.
The court heard that Fred Maraga is the accused’s nephew.
Homoka Koae also gave evidence yesterday, agreeing that he was with Maraga and Pomio when they dropped off Naime.
The case will reconvene on Nov 20 when counsel from both parties present their final submissions.