PORT MORESBY, 19 MARCH 2018 (THE NATIONAL) — The Papua New Guinea police force is no longer an authority responsible for safeguarding human rights, says Judge Panuel Mogish.
He told the court when jailing two police officers for six and seven years respectively that the culture of police brutality in the Royal PNG Constabulary was prevalent and had become a norm and an accepted practice.
“Police brutality is being committed almost on a daily basis and the police hierarchy are powerless when it comes to dealing with their own kind.” Justice Mogish said.
“Many police officers have become the law unto themselves, dispensing their own form of justice in full view of the public without shame.
“And members of the community are fed up with this kind of attitude, and rightly so.
“Because every citizen now knows that whenever police are called for their assistance, they leave behind a litany of breaches of human rights.
“The police force does not belong to a single policeman or woman, it belongs to the people of the country, who deserve to be respected and protected from violence.”
Justice Mogish assured the public that the courts will be hard on rogue policemen to discourage them from abusing their powers.
In court were George O’Conner, who was jailed for six years, and Benny Agu, who got seven years.
He suspended three years of their terms.
The judge told the court that this was a serious case of causing grievous bodily harm with intent where the victim was attacked in the police station by the offenders and other police officers, had not been identified or arrested.
As a result of the attack, the victim lost seven teeth which severely impacted his personality as outlined by the victim in his statement.
“This kind of offences does not reflect well on the Royal PNG Constabulary as an institute of the law,” Justice Mogish said.
“Any officer who finds pleasure in assaulting members of the public must be punished as a form of deterrence.
“The punishment should deter like-minded persons, especially members of the police force and send out a strong message that there are consequences of using their uniforms to inflict harm to the members of the public.”
Justice Mogish said the offenders had shown that they were no longer worthy of the uniform they wore.
“And removing them from the community and into prison environment would at least reduce by two the number of the offending policemen and at the same time assure the public that this court will be not allow rogue officers to abuse their powers.”
The court heard that the offence occurred on June 5, 2015, at Gordon Police Station where the victim, Kenny Auali, employed by Black Swan Security as a duty manager, had gone. PACNEWS [/restrict]