K800,000 for eviction victims

​The state has been ordered to pay over K800,000 to 43 victims of an eviction that took place in Lihir back in early 2013 for breaches of human rights committed by members of the Police force.

The Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association and 114 others filed the case in September 2013 claiming damages.

Only 43 of them who produced evidence in court were granted their claims. They will be receiving payments between K39,000 and K11,000.

The National Court ordered the state to pay them K814, 500 in damages and K71,676 interest. They are to receive a total of K886,176.

From Zuen village in Lihir, they were victims of a police eviction exercise that took place between February and March of 2013 by 30 members of the Police Force, most of which were members of the mobile squad based in Kokopo.

They sued the state, various customary land owners and members of the Police force following a raid on the land on which they were living on.

The claim covered destruction of their homes, gardens and other properties and assault, including the arrest and detention in police custody for some of them.

They claim the eviction exercise was sponsored by two individuals of the and the Nielik clan of Ton village, Masahet island.

Justice David Cannings in assessing the claims discount each by the 43 plaintiffs by 50 percent, taking into account the deficiencies in the evidence.

Sally Pokiton