26 Oct 2005

Former PNG attorney-general spared jail for assault

4:56 pm on 26 October 2005

Papua New Guinea's former attorney-general Francis Damem, who was found guilty of assault by the Boroko District Court, will not serve a prison sentence after the magistrate, Danny Wakikura, used his powers under Section 132 of the District Courts Act to discharge Mr Damem without conviction.

The National newspaper quotes Mr Wakikura, as describing the assault as "trivial" and ordering Mr Damem to pay Patrick Leslie 26 US dollars as compensation.

Mr Leslie, who is an aide to Public Service Minister Sinai Brown, complained to police that he was attacked in September last year as he opened the door of a private dining suite at a restaurant to deliver Mr Damem's suspension letter.

Mr Damem was arrested and charged by police with assault.

His term as Attorney General expired nine months ago, and he has applied for reappointment.

The newspaper says Cabinet has delayed an appointment because of what it called " infighting and disagreement between factions of the ruling National Alliance party."