Long-Delayed Rabaul Queen Ferry Disaster Trial To Get Underway In PNG

Sinking claimed 170 lives; Owner of vessel facing manslaughter charges

By Adam Mera

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 7, 2017) – The long-awaited Rabaul Queen trial has yet again been delayed to this Thursday following a change in lawyers.

Peter Sharp, the owner and operator of the vessel that sank in the waters of Morobe and West New Britain claiming more than 170 lives, has changed lawyers to Queen’s Counsel David Cooper.

Mr Sharp and the captain of the ill-fated ship Peter Tsiau are facing numerous manslaughter charges.

Presiding Judge, Justice Terence Higgins adjourned the trial to give time to Mr Cooper to prepare.

Mr Cooper told the court he needed time to access files from the previous trial, especially court transcripts.

Justice Higgins allowed the adjournment and told all parties to be ready for trial on Thursday.

The prosecution is expected to bring in an expert witness from Australia and various other witnesses from around the country.

Most of the witnesses will be victims of the shipping disaster.

The trial was adjourned last year due to the non-availability of funds, but that was remedied after the court used its powers to summon two government key persons to answer for the lack of trial funding.

The duo were Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan and Justice Secretary Dr Lawrence Kalinoe.

Funds were made available following their appearance in court.

Yesterday families of the victims of the tragic accident gathered outside the court eagerly awaiting the trial to begin only to be dismayed at the adjournment.

A family member of one of the victims of the disaster said the adjournment was discouraging, but that the wait was made bearable by the fact that there was now a definite date to look forward to.

PNG Post-Courier
Copyright © 2017 PNG Post-Courier. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Add new comment