Soldiers seek bail at National Court

Six soldiers charged with the wilful murder of student Jeremiah Yinu went before the National Court this afternoon seeking bail for their release.

 Jude Nidung (24) from Finschhafen  in Morobe, David Travoha (23) from Nuknuk village in Huon Gulf, Morobe Province, Gregory Tuaki (28) of Dinam village, Bogia district in Madang, Alwin Mataibe (26) from Guala village, Koroba district in the Hela province, Tobias Samson (26) from Singing village, Baiyer district Western Highlands Province and, Kenneth Yangun (25) of Mendi in the Southern Highlands Province all appeared before Justice Panuel Mogish.

Their lawyer Ignatius Mambei moved the application which was opposed by the state lawyer from the Public Prosecutors’ office David Kuvi.

Mambei moved the application of K1, 500 bail for each defendant with two guarantors on K500 each.

Counsel for the soldiers Ignatius Mambei said the police in their statement of facts did not establish the identities of the accused in their report.

He said the fact that they were present at the place where the alleged assault took place as well as their participation in the fight was not included in the police investigator’s report that led to the charge against them.

All six filed affidavits before the court saying their names were not mentioned in the statement of fact produced by the police denying their involvement and maintaining their presumption of innocence.

Kuvi in response submitted despite their identities and relevant facts missing in the statement of facts, the soldiers’ case is of a serious nature that resulted in the  death.

He said affidavits from investigating officers assume that it will be difficult for the soldiers to cooperate with police in their investigation to establish the facts.

Kuvi said the likelihood of them being released on bail will be an obstacle in the ongoing investigation.

 Justice Mogish in hearing the application said all defendants are still very young with a long career ahead in the force however he added there must be law and order within our disciplinary forces.

A ruling on the bail application will be made on Friday while they remain detained at Bomana.

 Jeremiah Yinu was allegedly assaulted by a group of soldiers in a fight on July 25. He was admitted to the Port Moresby General Hospital’s Intensive care unit until he succumbed to his injuries on October 7.

He would have turned 18 today. His father and other family members including school friends were also in court today to hear the bail application.

(Pictured above is the late Jeremiah’s father outside the court precinct). 

Sally Pokiton