Bail refused for Wobiro, Gumoi and May

Bail was refused to Western Governor Ati Wobiro, former Western Provincial Administrator Dr Modowa Gumoi and founder of Fly Care Inc. Norman May today by the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia refused to grant bail to the three this afternoon. However, he said their appeal will be put on the Supreme Court fast track list of cases.

“I am not satisfied that their continued imprisonment pending appeal is not justified.”

Sir Salamo said the interest of justice demands that the applicants (Wobiro, Gumoi and May) remain imprisoned whilst their appeals are being fast tracked to a hearing.

“For the foregoing reasons, bail is refused in respect of each applicant,” the Chief Justice said.

Whilst Sir Salamo accepted that the three suffer from a combination of serious medical conditions, he was not convinced that their medical conditions have reached such an advanced stage that poses serious risk to their health and threaten their lives if they were not to be managed well.

“Their conditions have pre-existed over a period of time and they have been managed with specialist attention over that time.

“I am satisfied that their conditions can be managed well from within the jail; and if that were not possible, satisfactory arrangements are in place in the jail for their conditions to be placed under close observation and monitoring for treatment to be accorded by the Port Moresby General hospital.

“The services available from Port Moresby General Hospital are located within close proximity to the Bomana jail and can be easily accessed with assistance from the jail authorities,” Sir Salamo said.

He went on to say the welfare of prisoners is a matter for the Correctional Service under sections 7, 13 and 67 of the Correctional Services Act 1995.

He made reference to the case of Francis Potape, who was imprisoned in Feb 2015 for misappropriation, where the court refused bail saying the then prisoner (Potape), on examination by Dr Amana, said he can practice self-help while in prison. In his medical report, he recommended a controlled diet and exercise for his patient as well as close monitoring of his condition.

Sir Salamo said that it is trite law that the Constitutional right to bail is lost when a person is convicted and sentenced.

In cases of bail application pending appeal, the onus is on the applicant to show that there exist exceptional circumstances to warrant the grant of bail.

In the current case of Wobiro, Gumoi and May, the Chief Justice was not satisfied that an exceptional circumstance was made out.

(Pictured is Governor Ati Wobiro inside the Court holding cell last Friday after he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Picture courtesy of TVwan news.) 

Sally Pokiton