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High profile prisoners serving jail time in hospitals and Universities: PNG judge

A judge in Papua New Guinea wants prison authorities to explain to the court why some “high-profile” prisoners sentenced to long jail terms are serving their terms in hospital, or allowed out to study.

Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika has given the Correctional Services until Monday to explain why those prisoners are not serving their terms in jail “with hard labour” as ordered by the court during their sentencing.

“I raised it last year that some high-profile prisoners after been convicted are admitted to the Port Moresby General Hospital and have been living there ever since,” Sir Gibbs said.

“I have received information about high-risk prisoners like Arua Ariki Maraga convicted for murder, Paul Isa (who was) sentenced to 15 years for rape, Upia Kopiak, who was sentenced to five years for misappropriating K7 million, and Herenga Micks Toto, are serving their jail terms at the Port Moresby General Hospital.”

Sir Gibbs said it bordered on contempt that the Bomana prison authorities had to send these prisoners to serve their jail terms at the hospital after the court had ordered that they served their terms in prison.

He said the hospital had become the second correctional institute.

Sir Gibbs said another two high-profile prisoners were also allowed out of jail to pursue studies at tertiary institutions.

Paul Tiensten, the former Pomio MP jailed in 2014 for five years for misappropriating K4 million of public funds, is now studying at the University of PNG.

He said Dr Theo Yasause, convicted of murder, was studying at the International Training Institute instead of serving his term at Bomana jail.

“I am interested to hear from the management committee from the Bomana jail, the security manager, officer, operation manager, station in charge and medical officers by Monday next week,” he said.

“The management at the Bomana Correctional Institute needs to tell the court and general public as to why prisoners like them are allowed to do their studies (instead of ) hard labour at the Bomana jail.

“They were sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour but it appears that they, including others, are serving time at the hospital and doing their studies instead of being remanded at Bomana.

“It doesn’t make sense when the court sends them to Bomana to serve their jail terms and they (Correctional Services) send them to other places.”.

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