Maladina Innocent.

By PNG Echo.

Jimmy Maladina - Innocent.
Jimmy Maladina leaving the courthouse after being found guilty

A unanimous decision by a three-man bench of the Supreme Court (Gavara-Nanu, Sawong and Higgins) upheld the appeal by Jimmy Maladina against his two convictions: conspiring to defraud and misappropriation in the National Provident Fund matter (NPF) that reaches back almost two decades.

it’s taken a while to established that Jimmy Maladina is innocent – but he always has been.

Maladina’s conviction was based on conjecture and misdirection and was a clear case where justice was miscarried according to reviewing Judge Gavara-Nanu.

It is all about more of that ‘trite law’ that I wrote about in my previous article on the judicial decision that quashed Damaru’s suspension.

This time, the law that convicting judge, Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) Gibbs Salika failed to understand (according to his fellow judges) thus allowing him to bring down a guilty finding in the Maladina case, was the fundamental paradigm that western law is built on – the presumption of innocence and the onus of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Justice Gavara-Nanu said in his judgment:

The view taken by the trial judge was of course contrary to the law relating to the burden of proof in criminal trials viz; proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution always carries the burden to prove every element of the offence charges.

Earlier in the document he stated:

…the trial judge had effectively shifted the burden of proof to the appellant to prove his innocence. This is evident from the trial judge’s statement that it was “incumbent” on the appellant to give evidence and explain the issues raised by the prosecution…

This burden [of proof] never shifts to the accused,

Justice Gavara-Nanu said.

But the DCJ had tried to do just that, maybe because there was precious little of prosecution evidence –  and the little that there was available was circumstantial and able to be imagined in more ways than the prosecution had presented or backed up with evidence.

Continue reading Maladina Innocent.

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The incredible rise and fall of Sam Koim

By PNG Echo


Sam Koim - Dedicated corruption fighter or dangerous vigilante?
Sam Koim – Some say dedicated corruption fighter others think he’s a dangerous vigilante.

Sam Koim started his legal career, at the end of 2008, as an employed lawyer at the Office of the Solicitor General. He rose quickly (within three years) to national – even international – prominence.

Koim owes his meteoric rise, at least the start of it, to his friendship with Sam Basil.

Indeed it was Basil, then Minister for National Planning in the O’Neill/Namah government, who, in 2011, put in a submission to the NEC for the establishment of Task Force Sweep (TFS) with Koim at the helm.

At the time, Koim had only two years experience as a lawyer and no experience at all in criminal law: he had never prosecuted or defended a criminal charge – his experience was limited.

Sam Basil, backed Koim
Sam Basil, backed Koim

Under these circumstances it was a curious appointment by Basil who is now the deputy leader of the Parliamentary Opposition.

Koim when asked of Basil’s involvement with TFS stated:

He was involved with us when he was the Minister for National Planning overseeing the investigations. After that, I got nothing to do with him.

The track record of TFS

Paul Tienstien convicted by TFS of official corruption
Paul Tienstien convicted by TFS of official corruption

TFS, under Sam Koim has prosecuted a number of high-profile cases successfully including the conviction and incarceration of powerful politician Paul Tiensten. This notwithstanding, a legal expert has been scathingly critical of the performance of TFS: Continue reading The incredible rise and fall of Sam Koim

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Mr Popular: Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika

By PNG Echo.

Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika
Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika

It’s official. Deputy Chief Justice, Sir Gibbs Salika, is the darling of PNGs social media (and the mainstream press seems equally impressed.)

Lately, to a wave of public approval, he’s handed down a guilty verdict on the cases of Governor Havilo Kavo – Gulf Province, Member of Parliament for Komo-Magarima, Francis Potape, Former Minister for National Planning and Pomio MP, Paul Tiensten, Commissioner of Police, Tom Kulunga and this week he hit the approval jackpot with his conviction of Jimmy Maladina over the NPF scandal 17 years ago.

Continue reading Mr Popular: Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika

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