Jejevo mining row case returns to court

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The case against men accused of damaging properties in Jejevo village, Isabel province, over a mining row in 2021 will return to court on May 28, 2022.

Police Prosecutor Watson Akwai said the case is a part-heard trial matter which was vacated after the November riot last year.

Akwai told the court that a new trial date should be set but there should be travel arrangements made as the witnesses are all in Isabel province.

The court then adjourned the case to May 28 for mention.

The men entered not guilty pleas in the previous occasion and a trial date was set.

This is the case of Hamilton Puza and four others.

The men are each facing one count of going armed in public, 13 counts of wilful and unlawful damage and three counts of simple larceny.

Police alleged that on March 8, 2021 between 2pm and 3pm at Jejevo Village, the men entered the village and committed the offences.

About 20 men including the five accused left Furona and went to Jejevo armed with weapons such as knives, spear guns, spears, axes and rocks.

It is alleged that the men entered the village and destroyed a number of properties belonging to 13 families in Jejevo Village and stole properties of three people; the total value of properties destroyed is $350,000 while the total value of the stolen items is more than $67,000.

The five accused are represented by a private Lawyer while Police Prosecution Service prosecutes the case in court.