22 August 2008

PNG family wants Aussie over hit and run

The family of a young Papua New Guinea girl injured in a hit-and-run allegedly involving an Australian adviser want him returned to Port Moresby to face court.

Ten-year-old Sofi Ebe's pelvis was broken in three places when she was hit outside Port Moresby's popular expatriate bar, The Weigh Inn, about 10pm on Friday, August 1.

Witnesses allege the Australian, who had worked for project management company Coffey International as an official in PNG's treasury, crashed into four cars and Sofi, before driving off. Coffey International are contractors for the Australian government's aid programs in PNG.

Coffey International PNG country manager Neville Saunderson said the company flew their employee to Australia the next day, and sacked him a short time later.

Saunderson said the company was cooperating with PNG police and would pay for all damages.

"We believe our decision to fly him to Cairns was justified," he said.

"We took advice from our PNG security firm as there were concerns about his safety and psychological circumstances.

"He was in a very distressed state."

The Australian flew to Cairns on August 2 and was admitted to Cairns Base Hospital the following day until his discharge on August 6.

A PNG police investigation is underway with an official saying the Australian should have faced charges including driving while intoxicated, dangerous driving, causing injury to a person, and failing to stop after an accident.

The girl's family have called on Australian authorities to return him so that he can pay traditional compensation money and face PNG law.

The Southern Highlands girl was with her mother and father who live in the nearby Konedobo settlement opposite PNG's police headquarters.

Sofi, who uses crutches to walk, said she was in constant pain.

"I was afraid and I ran. I was confused, it happened so quickly," Sofi said.

"I was scared and turned to run but the car came and I was cornered by another car and got hit."

Sofi's father, Solap Ebe, said he was happy Coffey International had paid for the medical costs and other bills and had accommodated the family in a rental apartment, but he wanted their former employee to face justice.

"He hit the cars, my girl and ran off. Police didn't get a chance to arrest him," Ebe said.

"Friday night accident, Saturday morning he fly away."

Ebe said he was worried there may be future complications in his daughter's hip and wanted the Australian government to return the man to PNG.

"He's a big official but he's not above the law," Ebe said.

"The Australians must bring him back. We will not fight him or hurt him. We just want him to face court and pay compensation."

Weigh Inn general manager David Austin confirmed there had been an accident and said police attended while he rang Australian officials and an ambulance for the little girl.

The Australian High Commission declined to comment.

ninemsn 22 Aug 2008

What in essence we have here is the Australian's Government support of a hit and run offense.
The government whisked him away before any charges could be laid.

Whilst externally it sounds nice that a firm is in PNG for 'aid', it is the attitude that is disgraceful, and a true indication of what is really thought of the native population. Who cares about a native girl? Clearly not the Australian Government.

During the early settlement of Australia, the English would go out on 'hunting expeditions' to kill a 'quota' of Aborigines. This happened only a few generations ago, and is an insight of how the aristocracy see the people as 'sub-human'.

An attitude that is not very distant today, as evident in the above story.

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