Judge happy with prison repatriation exercise

Justice Panuel Mogish today expressed satisfaction over a repatriation exercise his court ordered in October this year after he found there were psychiatric detainees kept at Bomana against their will and with no records.

The exercise saw a total of 14 out of 22 detainees identified at the Bomana Correctional Institute repatriated last month.

These detainees were transferred from the other centres around the country into Bomana to undergo treatment at the Laloki Psychiatric Hospital.

However they had been kept there, some after the completion of their treatment while others were just kept there with no treatment administered to them.

These 22 detainees had been kept at Bomana for up to four years and were only identified by the court during a Central Court circuit held at the Bomana Court house in September this year.

14 of the 22 had completed their treatment but were kept beyond that time at Bomana. They were repatriated last month to their respective provinces. These 14 included two women.

Justice Mogish described their successful repatriation as a worthy exercise and that the court achieved its goal in ensuring the rights of such people were  also taken into account.

He called for lawyers as well as the Correction Institutes to do their duty during court circuits in the provinces and refer any psychiatric detainees they come across to Bomana along with their files.

He said he was satisfied with the Correctional Service Commission’s compliance to the orders of October 15 in repatriating them before November 30.  

Their lawyer from the Public Solicitors office Bernard Popeu told the court that four of those 14 repatriated were released at the airport in their respective provinces.

Three are still at Bomana waiting clearance from Air Niugini and their doctor for repatriation which will be done before the year ends.

One of the detainees  who is a juvenile will be referred to the juvenile court in Port Moresby. He has been declared fit for release however is facing a murder allegation.

Another who also appeared in court today will undergo continued treatment at Bomana.

Eight of the remaining 22 detainees were kept at Bomana however were not taken to the Laloki Psychiatric Hospital for treatment.

They have had treatment at the Laloki hospital since November.

An audit exercise will later be carried out on the outcome of the psychiatric detainees’ repatriation and treatment since September. 

Sally Pokiton