20 Dec 2002

Strong security measures for mutiny ruling in Wewak in PNGiny ruling

4:48 pm on 20 December 2002

Strong security measures were in force yesterday when PNG Defence Force judge Justice Gibbs Salika handed down verdicts on 27 soldiers charged with mutiny over the Moem Barracks siege earlier this year.

All four roads leading to the court in Wewak were cordoned off and 14 military police and a platoon of soldiers assisted police in securing the area.

Justice Salika took three hours to read his judgement which found 24 of the men guilty.

Three others were found not guilty on grounds that their identity had not been positively established.

The intense security arose from concerns that some weapons removed from the barracks during the mutiny and not yet recovered might have been used to disrupt the trial.

Death is the maximum penalty for muting under Papua New Guinea defence Force regulations but defence counsel Major Danajo Koeget, asked for a maximum penalty of nine moths imprisonment on the ground that those found guilty were likely to be struck off the military payroll and dismissed from the service.