Those facing arrest have rights: Police Minister
BY: Carmella Gware (edited) | February 17, 2020
By law, police have the right to arrest any individual they believe is guilty of committing, or is about to commit an offence says Minister for Police Hon. Bryan Kramer.
Police Minister 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 identify if you’re the correct person arrested as per information laid by arresting officer, you are aware of what you’ve been 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 to commit the matter to stand trial in the National Court.”
Kramer said if police fail to produce the file within three months, the charges will be dismissed.
“Now if it (District Court) finds that there are strong grounds in that evidence to infer that someone is guilty of committing an offence, before it makes a decision to commit the case to stand trial in the National Court, it will ask Accused, ‘do they want to respond to this evidence?”
“So you get another opportunity to dispute the evidence” Kramer explained.
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 before the Court to testify and be cross-examined by your lawyer.
“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 to the public’, 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 likely commit a further offence whilst on bail; or
Interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice in any manner; or
a flight risk or fail to report to Court Registry each week in accordance with the conditions of their bail.
Kramer further urged Parliamentarians to make themselves available if they are wanted for questioning by Police.