Category Archives: Justice

Death Row Inmates Denied Full Protection Of The Law

Source: Post-Courier

 

 

The Court, presided over by Justice David Cannings, in a 53 page judgment and report of the Inquiry, concluded that all prisoners sentenced to death in PNG are being denied the full protection of the law, contrary to the Constitution of the country.

 
And he has ordered a stay of any execution of prisoners who have been sentenced to death until their rights under the constitution are fully complied with.

 
The Court which commenced the proceedings on its own initiative, styled as an inquiry into human rights of prisoners sentenced to death, was to, identify which prisoners have been sentenced to death, identify what human rights they have and whether those rights are being afforded to them and examine the role of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy.

 

 
Five respondents, who are senior office-holders in the criminal justice system, assisted the Court in its inquiry, they were the Principal Legal Adviser and Attorney-General, the Public Solicitor, the Public Prosecutor, the Commissioner of the Correctional Service and the Registrar of the National Court and Supreme Court.

 
Justice Cannings in his judgment discussed 10 questions which included the Courts jurisdiction to conduct the inquiry, the procedures used, What offences attract the death penalty? What is the method of execution of a person sentenced to death? Who has been sentenced to death? What human rights do prisoners sentenced to death have? What is the role of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy? What is the present status of those on death row? Are the human rights of prisoners sentenced to death being afforded to them? and what declarations or orders should the court make?

 
The most serious concern raised in the judgment by Justice Cannings is the absence of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy which the court found to have become defunct and accordingly made a declaration to that effect. “There has been a failure over an extended period on the part of the National Government, in particular the National Executive Council, to comply with the duty to facilitate appointments of members of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy and to provide it with staff and facilities. The Committee has become defunct. This leaves all prisoners on death row with no effective opportunity to invoke their right to the full protection of the law by applying for the exercise of the power of mercy.”

 
“This has created a gap in the criminal justice system. It involves a breach of the Constitution and an infringement of human rights which must be remedied as a matter of priority.”

 
Other matters of concern raised are the apparent failure of the Correctional Service to ensure that prisoners sentenced to death are given special care and treatment in accordance with Section 105 of the Correctional Service Regulation and the lengthy delays in implementation of the death penalty.

 
The court ordered that the National Executive Council shall, by January 1, 2018, facilitate appointments of members of the Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy and ensure that all arrangements are made, staff and facilities are provided and steps are taken to enable and facilitate, as far as may reasonably be, the proper and convenient performance of its functions and that there shall be no execution of any prisoner who has been sentenced to death, irrespective of whether his appeal and review rights have been exhausted.

Advertisements

Stop Police Brutality

BY MICHAEL ARNOLD

There will not be any deviation to the major principle of “zero tolerance” in regards to brutality by the Police Force.

This was emphasised yesterday by the office of the Police Commissioner Gari Baki, following this week’s one-day crippling strike by PMV bus owners and operators following the alleged brutalising of a crew member and driver in Port Moresby on Monday.

Baki’s office said the matter will be decisively dealt with in all seriousness and those responsible will be brought to justice.

The majority of Port Moresby city’s public transport commuters were caught by surprise at the sudden strike which saw workers, students, emergency and shift workers turning up late to work or school.

Schools were badly disrupted forcing anxious and worried parents to urgently make alternative arrangements for their children with most missing out on classes.

Businesses were also placed on high alert in case the situation turned nasty to uncontrolled rioting and looting as experienced in the past.

Foreign citizens and embassies were also put on high alert for the same reason.

Police reports claim that a route 17 operator had parked in the middle of the road, causing a traffic jam which resulted in him being assaulted by police officers.

The PMV operator was later hospitalised the same day raising questions on the retaliatory action taken by police which is already becoming a common occurrence in PNG.

In light of the incident, Police Commissioner Gari Baki still maintains a zero tolerance policy on police brutality and that the recent case will be dealt with accordingly.

The RPNGC hierarchy has openly condemned the incident, stating that force should only be used “when necessary.”

Examples of which include cases where an offender displays “resistance” or “retaliates” against an officer or in cases when an officer’s life is endangered.

Furthermore, in such cases where force is warranted, then it should be applied within “reasonable parameters.”

However, given the recent public backlash against police regarding the case, the RPNG also acknowledges the unique challenges that PNG police officers face in many parts of the country. Especially when dealing with repeat and persistent offenders.

“The PNG public can sometimes be very violent and you have persistent and repeat offenders, but we, as officers of the law need to rise above it,” said RPNGC director media, chief superintendent Dominic Kakas.The RPNGC maintains that it has a disciplinary system in order, but that system needs to be reinforced at all operational levels.”We have a good disciplinary system in place and it is now up to commanders down the line to enforce standards of discipline within the ranks,” Mr Kakas said.Investigations into the recent assault by police officers are ongoing and the suspects are likely to also face criminal charges.

http://postcourier.com.pg/stop-police-brutality/

Ban On Issuing Firearm Licenses

 

 

BY MICHAEL ARNOLD via Post-Courier

In light of an unprecedented increase in gun- related violence and killings reported in recent months, Police Minister Jelta Wong has declared a ban on the issuance of new firearm licences.

Mr Wong made this declaration yesterday by virtue of the powers conferred under Section 5A (1) of the Firearms Act Chapter 310, and all other enabling powers bestowed on him under the Constitution.

In compliance with this government directive, Police Commissioner Gari Baki, who is also the registrar of firearms, will not entertain new applications for the purchase and issuance of new gun licences.

Mr Wong said the ban, which was instituted yesterday, October 4, will remain in effect for an indefinite period. He said the government is taking this measure because of the increasing number of gun-related violence and killings reported in certain parts of the country in recent times.

The death toll now includes the two police officers killed in Wabag, Enga Province, at the height of the recently concluded 2017 National Election in July, and two in Southern Highlands Province last weekend.

However, according to Mr Wong, the PNG’s disciplinary forces, which include the PNG Defence Force, Police and Correctional Services, are exempted from this ban. A similar moratorium on firearms was issued by the Government in 2000.

Women Applaud O’Neill

 

BY YOMBI KEP of Post-Courier 

Women from the Peoples National Congress (PNC) party have come out to thank the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for his concern in seriously addressing the issue of women representation in the 10th National Parliament.

 
PNC Party women who had gathered in Port Moresby, said they supported the Prime Minister in his idea of having one male governor and one female governor but elected by everyone in each province and the implication that it will have from the current parliament of 111 members of Parliament to 133.

 
“We, the party women, are proud of our party leader and prime minister, who is open-minded about women’s role in the development of Papua New Guinea,” said Kathy Tom, a member of the ruling party.

 
“PNC will create history in the world when it takes a bold step to pass law to ensure with certainty the representation of women from the provinces through the women who would be elected as Governors.”

 
The group said they understand that there is a lot of work to be done but they are ready and willing to work with the prime minister to make this a reality before the next General Election in 2022.

ICAC Draft Bill Open For Public Discussion

September 26, 2017

 

BY NELLIE SETEPANO of Post – Courier

THE Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) draft bill is open to more public discussion and that is what the government wants.

The public is encouraged to make comments on this important legislation, says Constitutional Law Reform Commission chairman, Dr Eric Kwa.

Dr Kwa also said there is no time frame when the bill gets to the parliament.

He was speaking at a radio talkback show with TIPNG chairman, Lawrence Stephens, last week.

Both shared general views on the draft bill and are encouraged that the government has decided to ask the people for their comments, especially on the appointment of commissioners and the clarity of arresting and prosecution powers as certified in the amended bill.

Dr Kwa said the commission will still have some powers to arrest but will give the first call to those mandated by the Constitution to perform functions of arrests.

He said the bill will not be rushed, and that there are suggestions the Prime Minister was running the show which was not correct.

He reiterated that it is not a one-man decision.

Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, Davis Steven, spoke on proposed law at a forum at the University of PNG recently, saying the consultation with civil society and broad community demonstrated the government’s intention to be open about this important legislation.

Regarding consultation, Mr Steven encouraged the involvement of higher learning institutions in discussing the draft bill apart from the general public and it is a must for the legislation to be more simplified for common people to learn and understand it.

Also copies in draft form are available at the Department of Justice.

Challenging The Next Generation Of Lawyers

 

Source: Post-Courier

 

 

Seventy-three lawyers at the Papua New Guinea Legal Training Institute (LTI) now have the skills to pursue careers in commercial practice after undergoing a week’s training in Commercial Advocacy. 

Now in its fifth year, the Commercial Advocacy course, which is the brainchild of Papua New Guinea’s Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, is delivered by a team of barristers from Queensland led by The Honourable, Justice John Logan RFD, of the Federal Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea as part of the Papua New Guinea-Australia partnership.

 

The course is designed to strengthen legal and advocacy skills including applying to the court for injunctions, drafting letters of advice and pleadings, responding to discovery applications and preparing for trials.

 

Part of the course also includes training on the Papua New Guinea criminal law (the Papua New Guinea Criminal Code is based on the Queensland Criminal Code).

 

Over five days, the students were introduced to the fundamentals of commercial litigation before testing their advocacy skills in mock court exercises.

 

The need for this training was driven by the increasing volume and complexity of commercial cases being conducted in Papua New Guinea, many of which are conducted by expatriate lawyers.

 

Speaking at the close of the LTI’s Commercial Advocacy Course recently, the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Hon. Davis Steven, challenged trainees to make a difference and thanked the Australian Government for sharing Papua New Guinea’s vision of a thriving legal profession in a democratic and prosperous nation.

 

Australian High Commission Counsellor Gina Wilson, congratulated students on completing the course.

 

“The Papua New Guinea-Australia supports the LTI.  Commercial law is not just an exciting career path; it plays a vital role in encouraging economic investment and development,” she said.

 

Almost 500 students have completed the course since 2013.

Elections Review: Highlands Region

Journalist Freddy Mou witnessed firsthand the volatile situation of elections in the Highlands.

This is his summary of elections in the Highlands.

The campaign period in the Highlands region is always a time to showcase the sort of leaders a tribe has.

This is when pigs, cows and other livestock are slaughtered, with celebrations after celebrations held at various campaign venues by candidates to try and lure voters.

As described by bishops and Diocesan Secretaries of the four Highlands Dioceses in their Annual Regional Secretaries Meeting earlier this year, elections in the region have never been free, fair and transparent.

The people of the region have suffered and many have been routinely denied services.

Only a minority have benefited while the common people struggle to make ends meet.

While elections in the Highlands is known for its fiesta, mandating a leader always involved violence and corrupt dealings, requiring more security.

Security personnel engaged for the elections were mainly focused on the Highlands.

Police Commissioner Gari Baki, in a meeting with government departmental heads before the campaign period, said there were still issues in the Highlands which needed close attention.

He cautioned that for the past five years, provinces such as Southern Highlands witnessed peace but this did not mean there would be no threats or disruptions during the election period.

As reported, no election related violence occurred during the campaign period but a large sum of cash was involved.

Heading into and during polling, a lot of issues were raised by concerned candidates and supporters.

These involved the electoral roll update, polling venues and others.

Bulk voting and underage voting was also witnessed in some parts of the Highlands region.

Even though security personnel were present at the polling venues, nothing was done to stop such practices.

A candidate in the Goroka Open seat posted pictures on social media alleging that people were voting at will, without any control from the polling officials.

However, Provincial Election Manager Steven Kaupa brushed aside the allegations.

Kaupa, when asked about the claims, said the presiding officer, at that time, allowed that to happen in order to complete polling on time.

Furthermore, the rugged terrain of some remote areas in the Highlands region is always a challenge to the Electoral Commission when conducting polling.

Most of the provinces in the region did not complete polling on time as scheduled because of such.

An issue that grabbed the public’s attention is now before the court: Sunday polling.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s Ialibu-Pangia electorate was one of the areas implicated in this.

However, Ialibu-Pangia Returning Officer Michael Ariando explained that due to time constraints, he had to allow for Sunday polling with the advice from Election Manager David Wakias and Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.

Counting was also one of the scrutinised areas where candidates and scrutineers were on alert.

Rumours of election officials allegedly being bribed during counting was the ‘talk of the day’.

However, despite criticisms, Tari-Pori electorate in Hela Province was the first to declare its MP.

Returning Officer for Tari, Jack Walara, declared James Marape at 11:30am on July 9 in Tari, Hela Province.

Walara confirmed that Marape reached the absolute majority of 50% + 1, collecting 30,192 votes.

One of the counting venues that had raised its standards, in terms of security, was the counting venue for Eastern Highlands Province. The area was fitted with surveillance cameras all around the centre.

Declarations have been made on time for most Highlands provinces but only a few that were marred with election-related violence were prolonged. These provinces include; Kandep Open in Enga, Kundiawa in Simbu, Eastern Highlands regional, Southern Highlands regional and Simbu provincial.

Wabag town in Enga Province turned into a battlefield one Saturday morning on July 22, when supporters of two candidates confronted each other with high-powered guns. This followed the attempted murder of Kandep district returning officer Ben Besawe and other officials.

Eyewitnesses and security personnel said Besawe and two other election officials were shot at in front of a guest house at Wabag town.

This occurred while they were preparing to make their way to the counting venue at Wabag Primary School.

The incident led to a clash between supporters of two candidates from Kandep, who have been at loggerheads over election-related matters.

In Kundiawa, Simbu Province, three people are dead and several others hospitalised after a riot broke out in the counting centre. The incident occurred at around 7am on Sunday, July 30, 2017.

It was alleged that supporters of incumbent MP Tobias Kulang tried to enter the counting centre when they were stopped by members of the public, which then led to a big fight.

Many election related incidents have occurred in other areas but have remained unreported.

Now that all declarations have been made, except for Southern Highlands regional, and MPs elect have signed the declaration of loyalty to serve the people and the Independent State of PNG, election petitions will most likely increase to challenge the victory of the elected leaders.

(Loop file pic of protest in Enga)

« Older Entries