State liable to pay victim of police brutality

The state will likely be paying damages to a man, who was assaulted by a police officer, outside the Pent House club, seven years ago in Port Moresby.

Jeff Joe Lome filed a Human rights case in 2011 against Katu Sele, the Commissioner of Police and the state after he was assaulted by police outside the club on 24 June 2010.

The incident occurred between 1:30 and 2am.

Lome claims he fell unconscious as a result of the assault, and was taken to a private clinic for treatment.

He sustained fractures to his wrist, cuts to his nose, eyes, and lost two teeth from the assault. This was supported by medical reports.

He claims Katu Sele breached two of his human rights while carrying out his duty as a police officer, but the state submitted in court that he was not authorized by the Commissioner of police to carry out such acts.

Justice David Canning said Katu Sele’s conduct was obviously unlawful, that he acted outside his scope of work, and breached two of Lome’s human rights.

The court ruled that the state is liable to damages sustained by Lome. The cost will be subject to assessment of the court and will be made known at a later date by the court.

Meanwhile, the case returns next month for directions hearing, before an assessment can be carried out on cost.

Sally Pokiton