PNG nationals gets six months in jail   - Solomon Star News

PNG nationals gets six months in jail  

07 May 2021
Ontong Java Atoll. [Photo: Iggy Pacanowski]

TWO men from Tasman, Papua New Guinea (PNG) who illegally crossed the the border to Ontong Java, Malaita Outer Islands last December during the State of Public Emergency period had been sentenced to six months in jail.

Steven Atoka and Lester Kapua were sentenced after pleading guilty to the charge of Prohibition of Entry of Non-Citizens.

Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi in her sentencing remarks said the entry of the two defendants into our borders showed not only a total disregard of our laws but also had put the lives of our people in danger and risk of contracting the deadly virus.

“In sentencing them I consider that they are not citizens of this country and that they have breached the laws of this sovereign nation,” Magistrate Taeburi said.

She added that on 26 December 2020, the two defendants were found within the waters of Solomon Islands at Ongtong Java in an outboard motor boat.

“They were not given any permission to enter into the country during the time of public emergency,” Magistrate Taeburi said.

Magistrate Taeburi said she also considered the order made by the Prime Minister last year banning small crafts and vessels including non-citizens entering the country was made with the aim of protecting our people from the entry and spread of a very deadly virus.

Atoka and Kapua were charged together with two other co-accused.

One of them namely Thomas Poraka was already sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to the charge last month while Fresly Keapu pleaded not guilty to the charge.

It was heard in court that the trial in Keapu’s matter is yet to be fixed.

The maximum sentence for this offence is $10,000 or 5 years imprisonment.

Newsroom, Honiara