Justice David Cannings

Hagen Open petition proceeds to trial

Justice David Cannings today dismissed six grounds of the petition because they were incompetent. However, he allowed the petition to proceed to trial on one main ground.

The petition, filed by James Puk, was grounded on seven main points; five relating to alleged illegal practices committed by supporters of Duma, including agents and servants of the Electoral Commission, while two grounds alleged errors and omission by electoral officers. 

Ramu’s 97 sentenced

The eight given life sentence were part of those 97 convicted earlier over the massacre of seven, including two children in Sakiko village, near Ramu, on April 14 2014.

The number of prisoners on death row in the country, have increased to 20, after eight from Ramu were sentenced on Tuesday at the Madang National court.

Justice David Cannings sentenced the eight to death in what is the country’s biggest trial against 97 men.

Family’s human rights was breached: Court

This was filed in 1998 by Bruno Yara from Turingi, East Sepik Province, who at the time was an employee of the Ok Tedi Mining company and was living at Tabubil, Western Province.

It was left un-prosecuted for many years and was almost dismissed for want of prosecution on several occasions.

The court, in handing its decision on whether the Yara family established a case before the court, said the delay was due to how his previous lawyers handled the case.

Senior police officer breached rights: Court

Human rights judge, Justice David Cannings, found former Tabubil Police Station Commander, Kami Yanjuan, to have breached some serious human rights laws when he and his men raided the house of a Bruno Yara.  

The plaintiff, Yara, with his wife had alleged that the first defendant, Yanjuan, and other members of the Police Force were involved in five incidents in which their human rights were breached.

97 convicted for murder

The men from Serengo, Gomumu, Goiro, Niningo, Numbaya and Saranga villages in Ramu will return before Justice David Cannings at the Madang National Court next month.

Submissions on sentence will be made to the court before a sentence is handed down at a later date.

The 97 men pleaded not guilty to the charge of wilful murder in April 2017, which saw the commencement of their trial.

Sorcery allegations victims can go to court

Human rights judge, Justice David Cannings, said no person should be subjected to this sort of intimidation (sorcery-related violence) or terrible events that are being reported.

Sorcery is a criminal matter, but it can also be a civil matter under human rights.

Women, juvenile lock up must be separate

Unfortunately in Papua New Guinea, very few police facilities have separate lock ups for females and juveniles.

Human rights judge, Justice David Cannings, says it is a very bad situation for females and juveniles who are particularly vulnerable if they are in custody.

“Not so much when they go to a jail, all the prisons have separate facilities, but police lockups, in the smaller centres, even in my town, Madang, we don’t have separate facilities.”

Police misconduct high in human rights cases

Track administrator Justice David Cannings says a lot of the cases against the state arise from allegations of police misconduct or police brutality.

As more prisoners are being made aware of their rights and obligations, they are also filing human rights proceedings over mistreatment or violence allegedly being committed by other prisoners or correctional officers.   

“Vulnerable people do face problems when they are detained and we also have allegations against prison officers from time to time.”

People unaware of their rights: Judge

Having human rights, rights under the constitution and other laws does not mean everyone knows about them.

Human rights judge, Justice David Cannings, said there is a big problem in making people in Papua New Guinea aware of their rights.

That problem he said is faced by people living with disability, people in remote locations, and vulnerable groups like women who suffer from domestic violence, children who come into conflict with the law, juveniles, and people living with HIV/AIDS.

Court: Prisoners have right to balanced meals

The court found that detainees at Bomana are being provided the same food, day in, day out, consisting only of protein and staples.

It is a requirement under the section 123 of the Correctional Service Act, for prisoners and detainees at the facilities, to be fed food from the five food groups of staples, protein, fruit, vegetable and dairy. 

However what is typically served at Bomana, as provided in evidence before the Waigani National Court, is a black tea and navy biscuit for breakfast, rice and either tinned fish or meat for lunch and dinner.