By Vasinatta Yama – EM TV News, Port Moresby
John Thomas from Chimbu Province, pleaded not guilty before the Waigani Committal Court today, for allegedly stealing gold dust, worth K150,000 in the Goilala district of Central Province.
The alleged offence took place in 2006; however, he was arrested and charged in 2015.
Police prosecutors said the delay in his arrest was because he was in hiding, all these years.
John is married to a woman from Goilala and lives with his wife at the Yongai station in Goilala.
Between the months of May and June, 2006, John allegedly stole 1 kilogram of fine gold dust, belonging to Andrew Gembo, the complainant.
In October 2015, John was formally charged for one count of stealing the gold dust worth K50,000.
However, while the case proceeded before the Committal Court, Police investigators presented new evidence this morning, stating that the value of the gold dust was much higher – in fact K150,000.
Magistrate, Kosmas Bidar, adjourned the hearing to March 1 2016, to give police enough time to collect more evidence.
Magistrate Bidar described it as a Constitutional issue, and said the committal court does not have any jurisdiction to decide the council’s decision to pursue the case to a higher court.
Meanwhile, the committal court accepted his plea of not guilty, and will hear his case at a later date.