23 Apr 2014

PNG crime agencies told to enforce new penalties

3:55 pm on 23 April 2014

A Papua New Guinea government lawyer says tough new penalties passed by Parliament last year should be being applied by law enforcement agencies.

Under changes the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, had called draconian attempts to curb lawlessness, people convicted of major crimes could get the death penalty or life imprisonment.

The penalties had come into effect 8 months ago but some law enforcement agencies, including the courts, had indicated they had not been made aware of the changes.

However government lawyer, Johnny Bogombari, says they all should be aware of the new penalties and apply them accordingly.

Our correspondent reports officials have questioned whether the system delivers true justice.

He says there is a call for a jury system to give more balance and ensure people are not wrongly deprived of their life and liberty.