Justice George Manuhu

State case lacks evidence, says Potape’s lawyer

Justin Haiara this afternoon submitted that his client has no case to answer to after prosecution closed its case yesterday.  

Justice George Manuhu, in hearing Potape’s no-case submission, reserved his ruling to July 21.

Haiara submitted that Potape does not have a case to answer to and that some or all of the elements in the charges have not been proven by the State.

He said the evidence as it is before the court is incomplete or insufficient for the defense (Potape) to present its case.  

Potape to file no case against State

Justin Haiara, who is representing Potape, told the court today he will be moving a no-case submission for his client. This will ask the court to acquit his client of the allegations against him in the trial without the defense having to present its case before the court.

State prematurely closed its case against Potape this morning as the re-trial entered day three at the Waigani National Court house.

​Potape pleads not guilty to misappropriation charges

Potape’s plea of not guilty came after Justice George Manuhu read out allegations provided to the court this afternoon which contained the basic facts and relevant charges against him.

“Yes your honour, I plead not guilty,” he said when asked if he understood the two charges the State brought against him and what his plea was.

Trial against Potape commences

The trial was later adjourned to 1.30 this afternoon to allow time for the state to fix the charge against Potape, after one was struck out or removed from the allegations.

The charge or indictment was supposed to be read and explained to Potape, which is the normal process at the beginning of a trial before witnesses are called in. However, this did not take place.

Retrial of Potape's case deferred

The trial date was confirmed this morning after Potape and his lawyer, Justin Haiara, briefly appeared before Justice George Manuhu.

The matter was set to commence today however, State was not ready. Court was also told the matter cannot proceed as set because Potape has a Provincial Assembly meet in Hela tomorrow (Tuesday).

He flies to Hela today. This case will come for re-trial after the Supreme Court on July 31 last year quashed Potape's conviction and sentence after a successful appeal.