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Date for Missing Boat Coronial Inquest Set 

The date for the Coroner’s Inquest into the disappearance of the ABG Minister for Health and Member for Nissan Island Hon. Charry Napto has been set for September 21, 2021.

The Minister, his wife and son including four other persons were declared missing after the boat they were travelling in disappeared between the waters of Buka and Nissan islands on July 17, 2021.

Attorney General Hon. Ezekiel Masatt requested the coronial inquest following allegations of foul play that resulted in the ill-fated boat and six of its seven passengers going missing.

Due to its sensitive nature, Coroner and Senior Provincial Magistrate Bruce Tasikul granted the request by the Attorney General and has assumed full jurisdiction over the case.

The Coroner’s first course of action has been to direct the Bougainville Police Service to provide his office with their investigation report; the BPS report will contain all witness statements and evidence including exhibits from the incident.

Bougainville Police chief, Assistant Commissioner Francis Tokura will be presenting the police investigation report to the Coroner on September 21, 2021 when the inquest commences.

The Coroner has already appointed an Assistant Coroner, an Investigator and the Coroner’s Clerk. In carrying out its duties the coronial inquest will inquire into the cause and the circumstances of the disappearance of the missing persons and to determine whether the missing persons are dead or still alive.

The inquest will also examine evidence to be presented by persons who will give relevant evidence pertaining to the boating mishap from which the Coroner will hand down their decision.

The Attorney General called for respect of the law and due process during the coronial inquest. Mr Masatt said that a trial by the public should be avoided at all cost to allow the case to be accorded natural justice.

Mr Masatt warned that any action by parties that is deemed to be perverting the course of justice will be dealt with accordingly by the police and the courts.

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