Another man stands trial over Tatana shooting

Another man has been committed to stand trial at the Waigani National Court after the District Court ruled it found sufficient evidence of his alleged involvement in the Tatana shooting of early 2015.

Magistrate Cosmas Bidar today ordered the committal of Jeffery Sheekiot of Madang Province to the National Court for trial.

The order came after the committal court considered Sheekiot’s statement in response to its earlier ruling last month. The court then ruled there was enough evidence for his case to go for trial.

Sheekiot had told the court in his statement that police prosecution relied on evidence from the affidavits of five of his co-accused, and according to the evidence act, those statements should not be relied on by the court to make its ruling on the sufficiency of evidence. 

Magistrate Bidar said despite the court not relying on the statement of his five co-accused, whose case have already been committed to the National Court, he did not do anything to stop his colleagues or superiors from shooting an unarmed man.

“If he tried to stop those who fired shots, he may have been exonerated in court, even if he tried himself, he may have been excused,” Magistrate Bidar said.

Despite no evidence of Sheekiot firing a bullet on the deceased, the court said he aided in committing the offense.  

He said it is not a disputed fact that Sheekiot was at Tatana that morning. He was one of those who got on a dinghy and went after the deceased.

Sheekiot was in the company of other police officers who conducted a raid at Tatana village on January 17, 2015.

They were on duty investigating the murder of another man, the late Harold Farapo, when they allegedly shot another man, the late Saleh Naime Tom, also known as Charlie Naime.

Sheekiot was arrested on July 28, 2016, in Port Moresby and charged with wilful murder.

Six others have also been arrested and charged for the same allegation. Four accused have had their cases committed for trial in the National Court.

Sally Pokiton