More than 40 lawyers from the Office of the Public Prosecutor (OPP) and Public Solicitor’s Office (PSO) are better equipped to represent their clients after undertaking a five-day Criminal Law Advocacy Workshop to strengthen Papua New Guinea’s criminal justice system.

The course covered topics such as case preparation, presenting arguments and evidence, examining witnesses and making sentencing submissions. It also included practice trials and interactive sessions on criminal law practice and procedure.

The workshop was opened by the Public Solicitor Pondros Kaluwin and Acting Public Solicitor Leslie Mamu, and jointly facilitated by Australian judges, prosecutors and lawyers from the Queensland District Court,  Queensland Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Bar Association of Queensland.

Among the participants was Kokopo-based prosecutor Jacqueline Batil, who said the training would make her more effective at her job.

“I found the course to be very helpful, especially in terms of advocacy skills as I was actually quite nervous at the start, but now I am much more comfortable in presenting a case to the court,” Ms Batil said.

Desmond AiGilo, another participant from the Public Solicitor’s Office, who shared similar sentiments, said the course had taught him the importance of rigorous preparation for court appearances.

“The facilitators emphasised the need to prepare thoroughly, and I think I managed to do quite well [in the practice court session] because I prepared and went through all the documents,” he added.

The workshop was supported by the Australian Government through the Justice Services and Stability for Development Program and the Australian Attorney General’s Department.