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Police officers found guilty of manslaughter

The National Court has found four police officers guilty of man-slaughter; three sentenced to 12 years imprisonment each while one was sentenced to 11 years in Kokopo, East New Britain Province.

The imprisonment of the police officers follows a complaint lodged by Joe Nolu. Mr Nolu alleged that his son was unlawfully killed by a task force unit from Kokopo in an illegal operation at Floodway area in Warongoi over cultivation of marijuana.

Mr Nolu claimed that him and his family were brutally assaulted by the task force team during the operation in July 2015. That resulted in the death of his son, Wesley Kenny.

The Police Internal Affairs Directorate investigated the matter while the Commission through its Kokopo Office provided over-sight under the MOA between the Ombudsman Commission and the Royal PNG Constabulary.

The five accused police officers Senior Constable Joe Ngotngot, First Constable David Haro, Constable Jack Bemau, Constable Eric John, and Chief Sergeant Nicholas Taolo were interrogated in April 2016.

“Four of the accused were arrested and charged for willful murder under the Criminal Code and detained while Nicholas Taolo was dealt with administratively with two Serious Disciplinary Offences Report (SDOR) Charges for failing to provide proper supervision and leadership,” stated Senior Investigator Nick Panpagarea in his report.

Suspension notices were also served on the four accused officers.

The accused appeared before the District Court and were granted bail awaiting the National Court Proceedings. The Court among other evidences found that the police officers conducted the operation without a search warrant and they used excessive and unnecessary force on the victim despite the fact that he had surrendered.

Acting Justice David Susame, the presiding judge when handing down the decision, highlighted the role of the police to ‘preserve peace and good order in the country and to maintain and as necessary, enforce the law in an impartial and objective manner.’

The National Court Trials commenced in May and ended in October 2018.

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