Those facing arrest have rights: Police Minister

By law, police have the right to arrest any individual they believe is guilty of committing, or is about to commit, an offence.

Police Minister Bryan Kramer recently highlighted that those who are facing arrest also have the right to respond to allegations levelled against them.

Following the recent incident between Madang Governor Peter Yama and members of the Royal PNG Constabulary, Minister Kramer says there is no need to avoid police, especially if the individual is facing arrest.

You have the right to respond to the allegations against you, and you will be given the opportunity to do so when you are taken in for an interview.

“If, after the interview, police form the view that the evidence against you is strong, and you did commit the offence, they will lay formal charges,” Kramer explained. “At which time, you’re entitled to bail. Then you get bail, you go out and you appear at court. So the entire process, every citizen’s right is protected.

“When you appear before the court for the arraignment, the court will ask you, in terms of, to identify if you’re the correct person, you are aware of what you’re charged for, then it will give the police three months to prepare the file to present it to the court to justify there is sufficient evidence.”

Kramer said if police fail to produce the file within three months, the charges will be dismissed.

“Now if it finds that there are strong grounds in that evidence to infer that someone is guilty of committing an offence, before it makes a decision, it will ask them, ‘do you want to respond to this evidence?’ So you get another opportunity to dispute the evidence.”

From there, a decision will be made on whether or not to commit the matter to the National Court. The National Court is where all the evidence are tested and witnesses are called in and cross-examined.

“And again, during the entire process, every person’s right is protected. They’re entitled to bail until there’s a conviction unless they’re a threat to running and hiding away or reverse cars back into Parliament or hiding in Parliament.”

If an accused person is believed to be what is termed, ‘unacceptable risk’, then police may apply to deny the accused bail on the grounds that the accused would:

  • Endanger the safety or welfare of members of the public; or
  • Commit an offence whilst on bail; or
  • Interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice in any matter; or
  • Fail to surrender into custody in accordance with the conditions of bail.

Kramer further urged Parliamentarians to make themselves available if they are wanted for questioning.

Carmella Gware