Judge to visit jail to check prisoners’ rights

Justice David Cannings and his team will travel to the Lakiemata jail in West New Britain to see if prisoners are not denied their basic right to clean water.

Cannnings will travel to Kimbe on August 24 to visit the jail and specifically check if Water PNG is supplying clean water to prisoners at Lakiemata jail, in the matter of basic rights under section 67 of the Constitution.

This comes after the court on May 15 summoned heads of PNG Power, Water PNG, Treasury and Finance departments, and Correctional Service to appear before Justice Cannings.

Lawyer for Water PNG Jack Lomai told the court today (July 1) that Water PNG carried out tests on the water supply at Lakiemata and said it was safe for consumption.

That is something that the court will be checking when its officers travel to Kimbe next month.

The PNG Power lawyer also filed an affidavit before Judge Cannings on the matter of their progress since CEO John Tangit was summoned to appear before Justice Cannings on May 26.

Tangit on May 26 told the court he will take the lead on the project to restore  full water capacity at the jail.

Detainees at the facility have not had proper access to clean and free flowing water since 2013 and Justice Cannings started an enquiry regarding the basic living conditions of the prisoners.

Following an order from May 15, 2015 summoning four entities (PNG Power, Water PNG, Finance and Treasury secretaries for the state, the Correctional Service) the matter was brought back to court today.

The matter will return tomorrow (July 2) before Justice Cannings where parties will be expected to agree on funds.

Here they will inform the court how much the Correction Service was allocated in its 2015 budget and how much more they will need.

Sally Pokiton