Soldiers move bail application in mutiny case

Lawyers commissioned by the PNG Defence Force to appear before a Military Court Martial, this afternoon (Jan 9) moved 11 applications seeking bail before Deputy Defence Force Judge, Justice Allan David

Commissioned lawyers to the military ranks of captain, Leslie Mamu, Edward Sasingian and Wesley Dickson moved the application for their clients, the 11 officers of the Defence Force today (Jan 9).

They moved the bail application of K500 each or an amount at the discretion of the court and pledged an amount of K300 each for two guarantors to the 11 officers. 

Deputy Defence Force Judge, Justice Allan David, after hearing the application reserved his ruling for Monday morning January 11 at 9:30.

He indicated due to the 11 individual applications before him, he will consider bail on the officers’ individual merit when adjourning the court martial sitting.

The officers, Major Benjamin Edimani, Warrant Officer Ludwig Miugle, Warrant Officer Robin Melerot, Warrant Officer Scotty Kaule, Sergeant Alex Agiru,   Sergeant Amos Kaupe, Sergeant Mairi Mairi,   Sergeant Joel Yupanga,   Sergeant Urban Guria, Corporal Walter Waimi and Corporal Henry Worihun were all in court. 

They were charged with Mutiny under section 55 and Misconduct on operational service under section 58 of the PNG Defence Force Act.

Each of the officers were charged with four counts of mutiny and four counts of misconduct under operational service.

The court heard that on Dec 28, seven of the officers were brought to Port Moresby under heavy escort. Sergeant Alex Agiru, Sergeant Urban Guria, Sergeant Joel Yupanga and Corporal Walter Waimi were already in Port Moresby before that.

However they volunteered themselves at the Military Police facility and were arrested and charged along with their comrades in Port Moresby.

Their lawyers moved their respective applications seeking bail on the main grounds of family welfare, their inhumane cramped confinement in the nine-man facility capacity of the military police holding cell at Murray Barracks and  the ground that they wanted to visit and support in the funeral arrangements of their two comrades who were killed at Komo.

They are also seeking bail on grounds that they had been away from their families for a year and four months, and they wanted to be with their children for the opening of the 2016 school year.

Their lawyers told the court that the charges were merely allegations and that bail was discretionary to the court.

They moved the application under sections 42(6) of the Constitution and section 4 and 6 of the Bail Act.

Counsel for the State and the PNG Defence Force Captain David Kuvi however objected to the bail application saying they were facing serious charges.

He said the officers’ operation was recalled in August however they defied the orders from the Defence Headquarters and remained till Dec 28.

He said all the officers had access to mobile phones and were not restricted to have their families visit them at the Military Police facility.

He also said that the PNG Defence Force was in the process of having the other Military Police detainment facility at Taurama barracks upgraded to accommodate the officers who are currently being detained at Murray Barracks.


Sally Pokiton