Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Jano trial postponed

POHNPEI, Palikir (FSM Information Service): April 2000 - FSM Supreme Court Judge Richard Benson, Monday, dropped two gun violation charges against Martin Jano and Tuesday afternoon postponed the trial until after the criminal trial of key defense witness Elizabeth Ciupan.

The judge dropped charges of obliterating weapons' serial numbers from two firearms because there was no witness showing that Jano did remove the serial numbers. Ciupan faces these charges as well as other gun law violation charges.

Yesterday, the defense opened with witnesses to refute arguments put forth by the prosecution that Jano was guilty of violation of various FSM gun laws. One of the witnesses was Ciupan, who, according to court records, claims to be the owner of the apartment where police allegedly found a handgun, three .22 caliber rifles, a .410 caliber shotgun, and ammunition.

The court postponed the trial because Ciupan was advised by her attorney, via telephone conversation, not to testify to anything that might be brought up in her own trial.

It was felt that testimony she might give could possibly incriminate her, so the judge order Jano's trial to be continued after Ciupan's trial, which begins June 19. This will then let her testify in Jano's trial without fear of incriminating herself.

Ciupan has been charged with violation of 11 FSMC Section 1223(5) which states, "No person shall import, sell, transfer, give away, purchase, possess, or use any handgun."

Furthermore, she is charged with violations of 11 FSMC Section 1205(1) which requires anyone possessing a firearm to have a firearm identification card.

She is also charged under the same code for not having an identification card when possessing ammunition.

The trial stems from a shooting incident occurring at the Inada Apartment Building in Nett Municipality on Oct 3, 1999.

According to court records, Sidney Oliver identified Jano as the man who shot him in the leg with a handgun. Acting on that, a search warrant was issued by the Pohnpei State Supreme Court to search Apartment number 3, which prosecution alleges was occupied by Jano.

Jano is charged with the same violations as Ciupan as well as not having an identification card when using a firearm and ammunition.

He and Ciupan face up to a $2,000 fine and five years in prison for each count if found guilty.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356