​Pokea guilty of murdering Bebego

Southern Highlands man, Billy Sapsi Pokea, has been convicted by the Waigani National Court for the murder of former diplomat, the late Dennis Taylor Bebego, in 2014.

Justice Nicholas Kirriwom today found Pokea guilty after he conducted a trial against him and was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he attacked Bebego with a busk knife with intentions to kill him.

Bebego’s body was found lying in a pool of blood in his own office on 5 July, 2014, at the Department of Foreign Affairs office at Waigani after a scuffle with Pokea.

The court refused to accept the evidence Pokea told the court during the trial simply because he gave a detailed account of what transpired on 5 July, 2014, during a recorded interview with police five days after the offence was committed.

There was also clear consistency between a state witness’ statement and police findings.

Justice Kirriwom said there was no reason to disbelieve the state’s first witness, who was also at the office that morning.

The witness told the court he saw a scuffle between the two men in Bebego’s office and later saw him walk out of the office with blood stains on his shirt.

The judge said these all link up and what Pokea told the court under oath was something he fabricated from the last 2-3 years in custody while awaiting trial.

He said Pokea was a well-educated man up to university level and knew what he was signing at the Boroko Police Station after the record of interview with police.

Justice Kirriwom was also of the view that no other person or officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs would have fabricated the story when they had no knowledge of what happened at that time.

During the trial, Pokea told the court that he was under intense duress in police custody after he was picked up on 10 July, 2014, and was forced to sign a document, which was the record of interview, without knowledge of its content.

He also told the court he was framed by the police and Foreign Affairs staff over Bebego’s death. The court ruled otherwise.

Pokea attacked Bebego in his office after he was caught watching pornography at his work station. He fled the office soon after leaving the bush knife at the office.  

The now prisoner of the state will return to court next week, where his lawyer and the state will address the court on what should be his appropriate penalty.

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Sally Pokiton