Home > Human rights, Logging, Papua New Guinea > Supreme Court rejects Rimbunan Hijau attempts to avoid serious police assault claim

Supreme Court rejects Rimbunan Hijau attempts to avoid serious police assault claim

September 28, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

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The Supreme Court has rejected a bid by notorious Malaysian logging company, Rimbunan Hijau, to have a claim against it for orchestrating a brutal police assault thrown out.

Tha plaintiff, John Molu says he was thrown out of a 3 metre high window, threatened at gun point, gun-butted, lashed with wooden sticks and a bulldozer fan belt, punched and kicked and cut with a bush knife. These assaults were allegedly carried out by Sergeant Jerry Biamaga and Constable Frank Johe who were working on behalf of Rimbunan Hijau subsidiary, Wawoi Guavi Timber Company.

The details of the serious assault and human rights violations inflicted by the police officers are all ‘facts’ the Supreme Court says, Rimbunan Hijau’s lawyers tried to ‘gloss over’ in their submissions. The Judges also noted that Rimbunan Hijau has not filed any evidence to contradict Mr Molu’s claims.

There have been numerous documented instances over the past fifteen year of police officers working on behalf of Rimbunan Hijau terrorizing communities opposed to their unlawful and destructive logging operations, see for example:

Mr Molu’s original claim for damages was dismissed for want of prosecution in April 2013, in a hearing the Supreme Court says, Mr Molu’s lawyers were never informed of by Rimbunan Hijau.

The dismissal was overturned in the National Court in September 2013. Rimbunan Hijau then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has rejected RH’s appeal. The matter has now been returned to the National Court for trial.

The Supreme Court ordered Rimbunan Hijau pay all the costs of its failed appeal, including the costs of its expensive Australian QC, John Griffin, and the costs of Mr Molu.

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