Court grants bail for PNG's doomed ship owner Peter Sharp

Port Moresby, (The National): SHIPPING company owner Peter Sharp was yesterday granted bail of K5,000 ($2500) by the National Court in Kokopo PNG after he had spent Tuesday night in police custody.
Sharp, 69, the managing director and owner of Hamamas Lines Ltd and Rabaul Shipping Ltd, faces manslaughter charges alleging that he caused an unworthy ship to put out to sea resulting in death.
The charges are related to the sinking of the mv Rabaul Queen on Feb 2 last year off the coast of Finschhafen in Morobe in which more than 200 people died.
Sharp was arrested by police on Tuesday.
His lawyer David Lidgett of Warner Shand Lawyers told the National Court that Sharp had surrendered his passport to the police investigating team with two guarantors, his wife and lawyer, pledging K1,000 in addition to his bail.
The doomed ship before the disaster 
Lidgett submitted that there was no likelihood of Sharp escaping since he had a permanent residency permit in PNG and was a businessman. And if released on bail, he had business to attend to.
Lawyer Anthony Kupmain objected to the bail application, saying most witnesses lined up by the police were company employees. 
Justice Salatiel Lenalia said according to Section 6 of the Bail Act and Section 42 (6) of the Constitution, the application was entitled to bail at any time after his arrest until he would be tried.
“The court is minded to grant bail to the applicant on the conditions that:

Sharp pays a cash bail of K5,000;
The two guarantors pledge K1,000 each;
Sharp must  report to the district court registry as and when he is required by the committal court;
He must not leave the province without leave of the district court;
He should not interfere with any state witnesses or speak to them while he is undergoing the committal process;
He should not leave PNG until the district court considers otherwise at the end of the committal process;
He should not leave PNG to other jurisdictions unless leave is granted; and
His passport be submitted to the National Court registry.”
Sharp is scheduled to appear at the Kokopo district court for committal proceedings today before Rabaul district court magistrate Oakaiva Oiveka.
He did not appear yesterday as earlier reported because the Kokopo District Court only registers family court cases on Wednesdays and criminal and committal cases on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This was also because there was only one magistrate presiding over cases at the Kokopo District Court.
Meanwhile, four employees of Rabaul Shipping were questioned yesterday on the incident last year.
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