Gordons police officers convicted for assault

Two police officers from the Gordon Police station have been found guilty by the National Court to assaulting a man at the station which left him with seven broken teeth.

Justice Panuel Mogish this week convicted George O’Conner and Benny Agu for the offence of causing grievous bodily harm to Kerry Auali on June 5, 2015 at Gordon’s Police Station’s back car park.

Auali worked with the Black Swan security firm at the time of the offense. On that day he went to the Lamana Development area to attend to a situation involving their guards and the public.

Some moments later Jackson Bray (state witness) drove into the same place.  Other policemen were also at the area.

The state alleged Auali was told to return to the Gordons Police Station to settle the dispute involving their guards.

At the police station’s back carpark, Auali was allegedly beaten up by O’Conner and Agu in the presence of Bray. He was later escorted into the station.

Bleeding from his injuries, he was released to the Port Moresby General Hospital where a Dr Sonny Kibob attended to him. He was escorted by another police officer who acted as his guarantor.

At the hospital, the doctor noted that Auali had seven teeth broken; three in the upper set and four in the lower set. He also noted bruises on Kerry’s face, lips and chin.

Both O’Conner and Agu denied the allegations and a trial was conducted.

Both men claimed that on that day, they were taking statements from witnesses at the station when the assault took place.

They said other officers assaulted the victim but could not reveal the identity of those officers to the court.

State witness, Jackson Bray’s evidence was consistent with that of Auali, the victim.

The court accepted Bray and Auali’s story as it was of the view that the two cop’s stories were not consistent with common logic.

“Both said Kerry Auali was assaulted by other police officers. But they were not able to identify the other policeman who assaulted the victim that night,” Justice Mogish said.

“I find this incredible given that both are attached to the Gordons Police and they would have identified at least some of the policemen involved,” he added.

He said the cop’s inability to identify the others cast a lot of doubt in their evidence.

“I do not believe their evidence that other police officers assaulted Kerry.  It was a figment of their imagination designed to isolate them from the assaults,” Justice Mogish said when convicting them.

Both men will return to court at a later date where submissions will be made on what should be their appropriate sentence. 

Sally Pokiton