Abuse of process sees case dismissed

A case of unlawful assault has been dismissed by the Boroko District Court for abuse of process after the court saw that four defendants in the matter were arrested without a formal complaint.

The court also raised issues on the abuse of police officers in arresting suspects without according their rights to silence.

The case stems from a fight that took place over a road block at the ATS settlement on Dec 23 last year which saw four men arrested and charged with the unlawful assault of a man.

Magistrate Laura Kuvi this week dismissed the case against 59-year-old Leo Pami from Komo, 27-year-old Koli Hangana from Koroba, 23-year-old Larry Wai and 23-year-old Samson Punga also from Komo Hela Province.

They appeared for mention in court with a court file that did not contain any statements by the complaint or the police which led to their arrest.

Magistrate Kuvi described the case as an abuse of process because the defendants were not accorded their rights to choose whether to make a statement or remain silent when they were arrested.

The court found that their statements were not admissible because the complainant’s statement and even a police statement was not before the court nor was one done up.

“In your case, there is no police statement. Even there is no statement of the complainant whom they alleged you assaulted.

“Under the Constitution you have the right to remain silent if you wish to. It’s a case for the police. They will go out and get witnesses in to bring a case against you. They cannot tell you, the defendants when they charge you to just write your statements against your will,” She said.

One of the defendant, Pami told the court that the man they were alleged to have assaulted even demanded a compensation of K15,000, something the magistrate described as an act of extortion under the Criminal Code act .

 “Only the court can order compensation in such. There are serious constitutional violations in relation to this matter. In all fairness and justice this court cannot proceed with this matter or have it set for trial,” Kuvi said when dismissing the case.

It is alleged the four were in a vehicle driving into ATS when a drunk man came and blocked the road in front of them, Leo tooted the horn but the man did not move so he opened the car door and asked him why he was blocking the door.

The court was told the man allegedly came and slapped him which caused Leo to hit him which the other three helped too. The fist fight allegedly lasted three-four minutes.

Around 3am the next day. 20 police officers, came for Pami and took him around in the car till day break. No formal charges were laid on him when they brought him back to the house. A separate offense Pami said to take up to the National Court.



Sally Pokiton