Jeffery Pitu, Jacob Lais and Newman Upas were charged with the murder of their relative, Matthew Masket on Feb 22, 2015.
Justice Panuel Mogish today acquitted them of the charge because he was of the view that Masket died as a result of the impact of the car crash at the tunnel between Stop N Shop and the RSPCA clinic.
He said this was a case of “who to believe” which the State did not prove beyond reasonable doubt.
State had alleged that the Masket was killed earlier at Sabama where they had been drinking and the accident was a cover-up however Justice Mogish said the link of being killed at Sabama and later driven to the crash site did not add up.
The left arm of the deceased was found at the entrance of the Waigani Tunnel while his body was in the car that ended up near the fence of the RSPCA clinic. Two of the men fled the scene of the crash while one of them was caught by security guards of RSPCA.
Witnesses who were at the crash site discovered the deceased’s body in the vehicle.
The judge said the impact of the crash at the tunnel had ripped off the left arm of the deceased from his shoulder due to the speeding vehicle.
The absence of the deceased’s blood inside the car at the crash site was an issue the state had to prove in its case, however did not.
On February 21, 2015, the deceased was seen drinking alcohol with the defendants at Sabama in Port Moresby until 2am the next day, Feb 22, 2015.
They left the area in the defendant’s vehicle and it was later seen at the Kilakila playing field at 3am. It crashed at 4am at Waigani.
Two others, who were also alleged to be involved in the murder case, Kaitas Michael and Steven Sikin, were acquitted by the court after their lawyer made a submission that they had no case to answer to due to lack of evidence.
State had a total of 12 witnesses during the trial and maintained that Masket was murdered prior to the accident.