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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 20) - The Papua New Guinea National Court has ordered the Civil Aviation Authority to release the passport and an impounded jet belonging to an Australian aviator.

Presiding Deputy Chief Justice Salamo Injia on Friday ruled in favor of an application by Australian pilot Andrew Reid, who sought the release of his passport and Cessna Citation II (C550) jet from the CAA.

The Australian and his company Tasman Australian Airlines Pty Ltd., which purportedly owns the aircraft, copped a total of K250,000 (US$79,500) in fines for landing on Bougainville’s decommissioned Aropa Airport in September.

Reid’s lawyer Greg Sheppard submitted that the court which confiscated his client’s passport and ordered that the jet be flown to Port Moresby from Tokua for further investigation, order the passport and aircraft be released from CAA’s custody.

He argued that Reid needed his passport to take the jet back to Australia and visit his family, adding that the court proceedings initiated by the authority against his client in the District Court resulted in the Australian losing thousands of kina in business.

Justice Injia ruled that Reid should be allowed to return to Australia to see his family but on the condition that he had proof of paying K330,000 (US$104,940) to the National Court trust fund and that he return for the prosecutor’s appeal.

He further ordered the Australian’s visa to remain in the country be extended -- though it was his business to see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Immigration on the matter.

The judge extended the stay order he granted two weeks ago to Reid, thereby putting on halt the K250,000 fine the Waigani District Court dished out against him.

December 21, 2004

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:

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