27 Dec 2012

PNG man convicted of murder forces courts to order a re-trial

5:15 am on 27 December 2012

A Papua New Guinea man convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years jail has forced the courts to order a re-trial.

The Milne Bay man, Ilai Bate, was found guilty in September of 2008 of killing 21 year old Trent Wesley in Alotau by attacking him with a crowbar.

The Post Courier newspaper reports the trial judge had relied on a sole State witness to identify Mr Bate, who was 23 years old at the time, as the attacker.

The paper reports the court accepted the evidence as succinct and of high quality and took into account that the defence had not countered it.

The trial judge also dismissed evidence from Mr Bate and his parents, which placed him away from the crime scene, as not credible because of inconsistencies and as the story had not been told in his police interview.

Mr Bate initially lodged an appeal but it was outside the time limit so the Supreme Court considered it as a review and ordered a new trial to commence within 4 months.

It says the miscarriage of justice is best remedied by having a new trial rather than entering a not guilty verdict.