PNG judge says ‘no double standards’ – expat prisoners must do their time

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Judge Panuel Mogish
Judge Panuel Mogish . . . “Suspension is impossible for an expatriate as these expatriates deliberately come into this country and cause an offence." Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Melyne Baroi in Port Moresby

A senior National Court judge in Papua New Guinea has dismissed an expatriate prisoner’s request to have his sentence suspended due to poor health.

Judge Panuel Mogish said the court was interested in maintaining a standard that was equal to both non-citizens and citizens of Papua New Guinea.

“Suspension is impossible for an expatriate as these expatriates deliberately come into this country and cause an offence so they have to be punished accordingly within this country instead of breaking the law then [using] medical reasons to flee,” he said.

Justice Mogish was responding to submissions made by a 52-year-old Italian drug trafficker, Carlo D’Attansio, whose lawyer initially asked that his client who has cancer be given mercy of the court and have part or the whole of his sentence suspended.

D’Attanasia, is one of four men who were convicted of concealing bags of cocaine weighing 611kg and worth K200 million (about NZ$88 million) between February and July 2020 in the vicinity of Papa and Lealea, Central Province.

However, since being locked up, D’Attanasio has been pleading to the court about his cancer which he said was life threatening.

He has been admitted to the Paradise Private hospital but continuously brings to court complaints that he is not being treated well.

‘Life-threatening’ says letter
Yesterday, his lawyer told the court that the chief executive officer of the private hospital had written a statement to show that D’Attanasio’s condition was life-threatening and he would need medical treatment overseas.

D’Attanasio therefore asked the court to either suspend his sentence in part or full, or impose a lesser penalty on him.

The state prosecutions objected to the request saying he was a main actor in the crime and deserved the highest penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment.

Justice Mogish then said: “It could be seen as a double standard.”

Melyne Baroi is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.

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