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Court orders Yali to pay $4,000 for punch

By Jeffrey Elapa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Sept. 12, 2008) – James Yali, a former Madang governor now serving a 12-year jail term for rape at the Beon jail outside Madang, was ordered this week to pay a compensation of PGK10,000 [US$4,027 ]to a man he assaulted while serving as governor.

The documents presented to the court alleged that Yali, while serving as governor of Madang, punched George Chapok who was at that time the district administrator of Madang district during a meeting at the Madang provincial government office in 2004.

The papers said Mr Chapok was responsible for overseeing a vote of no-confidence and he was there to brief the meeting on it in the Ambennob local level government.

But before he started briefing, he was verbally abused and later punched several times in the face by Yali, drawing blood and causing him to fall to the floor.

Mr Chapok was taken to a clinic for medical attention. He sued Yali for damages.

In a written judgment, Justice David Cannings said the plaintiff suffered bodily injuries and had to be compensated for the shock and distress caused by the incident.

Justice Cannings also said in view of the leadership position held by the defendant, he (Yali) deserved to be punished by an award of exemplary damages and special damages awarded for medical expenses incurred.

He ordered the cost of the proceedings to be paid by the defendant to the plaintiff on a party-party basis.

Justice Cannings awarded K5,000 plus exemplary damages of K2,500 and the medical expenses of K50 with 8% interest.

He was ordered to pay a lumpsum of K10,207.60 within 30 days.

Meanwhile, the National Court had also ordered the National Housing Corporation (NHC) to pay K64,512 within 30 days for damages to one Albert Areng.

It was heard the NHC sold a property to a tenant but breached the sale contract by not transferring the title until 16 years after he was entitled to it.

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