Yesterday, Assistant Commissioner for Police responsible for Human Resource at Police Head Quarters, Sylvester Kalaut made an application to the Waigani District Court for a search warrant in a case pursing criminal charges against me.
The search warrant (a court order) was granted by the Waigani District Court directing the CEO of Digicel PNG to retrieve or confirm that on 27th June 2019 I posted on Facebook an article titled "So National Reporter Threatens so Sue Me???
The information sought is to determine if I am the administrator of numerous Facebook pages and did post the article and to also retrieve comments made by Facebook users in response to the article.
It appears Mr. Kalaut is pursing criminal charges against me on the grounds that the comments and remarks made by third parties were defamatory, derogatory and libelous and actually destroyed the character, integrity and reputation causing emotional distress to the complainant (Ms Dorothy Mark National Reporter).
Well Mr. Kalaut clearly didn't think this through.
Firstly, because the last time I checked Assistant Commissioners of Police in charge of Human Resource matters don't normally take it upon themselves to take the lead in investigations making applications for search warrants against Ministers of State.
Especially Assistant Commissioners who may feel aggrieved after being overlooked for recent Acting Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner appointments.
Secondly the article was published a year ago, so I'm interested to establish where and when the complaint was filed and how it ended up on the ACP HR's desk in Police Headquarters and only acted on now.
Thirdly, you can't charge someone for a defamatory publication for comments and remarks made by third parties. The last person who tried to have me prosecuted on the same misconceived grounds was the former Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his infamous lawyer Ms Tiffany Twivey. Unfortunately for Ms Twivey and her client the matter never went anywhere.
Fourthly, the warrant directs the Digicel PNG CEO to confirm or retrieve whether I was the author of the post and details of the comments by Facebook users.
Digicel is a mobile and ICT service provider, therefore only information they can provide is sim registration, voice mail, and SMS text messages, internet IP addresses and web sites visited and not publications in them. If the good officer is after information concerning Facebook then he needs to serve search warrant on Facebook CEO to obtain the information from their servers. Unfortunately they operate outside PNG jurisdiction.
I believe Digicel will only be able to confirm yes the Minister for Police visits Facebook website. A more efficient and common sense approach would have been to just ask me.
What happens now?
Well on account the warrant is clearly defective, abuse of process and malicious prosecution I've instructed my lawyer to file for a stay. Mr Kalaut can now find himself in court answering questions about why in his capacity as Assistant Commissioner for HR is pursuing this case and what interest he has in it.
Given the circumstances of this case I will file a complaint against Mr. Kalaut's conduct requesting Police carryout investigation to establish which individuals, if any, are behind it and in communication with him. It is a criminal offence to bring false caccusations or charges against anyone, penalty a term of upto 7 years (Section 127 of Criminal Code)
I can only assume that some people are pursuing my arrest in an effort to have me dislodged from my Ministry. While I can't blame them for trying perhaps I can blame them for stupid way in going about it.
Sadly for Mr. Kalaut he has just become famous for all the wrong reasons, an act that not only reflects on him personally, his career, but his family, his colleagues and the entire Police Force.
Food for thought - while there are some people you may mess with and get away with it, there are some you really need to think things through..