PORT MORESBY - Never has a court case concerning domestic violence captivated the nation like the one involving Bosip Kaiwi, charged for the wilful murder of his partner, Jennelyn Kennedy.
Already there are public concerns about how police are handling the situation; concern justified based on many accounts of police officers failing to carry out their duties diligently and without favour or bias.
The honest and dedicated police officers seem to be outnumbered by bad coppers who are tainting the image of the force.
And all this exacerbated by other high profile cases swept under the rug.
The result is obvious - public trust and confidence in the police force has been eroded to an extent where its members are treated with disdain and doubt.
One gets the feeling that we are reaching a breaking point in our nation's history as people lose trust in the justice system.
This frustration was on full display at the media conference with the family of Jennelyn Kennedy.
It seems just a matter of time before we witness a nation engulfed in jungle justice where people will take the law into their own hands.
In a country already marred by revenge killing, the last thing we want is for the justice system to fail totally.
Could Jennelyn Kennedy’s's death and Bosip Kaiwi's court case be a watershed moment in our nation's ability to address gender based violence? The majority of Papua New Guineans would like to think so.
Certainly, since the story of Jennelyn's death, revelations of other similar cases of gender brutality have swept the country.
Depending on how the Bosip Kaiwi court case goes, more similar stories will emerge and the more difficult it will be for the government to ignore public outcry with sweet words and mere promises of action.
Jennelyn’s death seems to have awoken a new sense of awareness among not just amongst women but amongst men of the need for the strongest curb on gender based violence.
If men can take the lead – as indeed they should – this will go a long way to changing the big picture.
As the nation follows every step of Bosip Kaiwi's court case, the police and those who are the vanguard of our justice system should know and appreciate the pandemic scale of the GBV problem.
Police and members of the justice fraternity should be acutely aware that every Papua New Guinean will intently follow this case.
How it is handled and the final outcome will go a long way in determining whether GBV can be brought under control in PNG.
It will also determine whether interventions such as referral pathways have been worthwhile investments or just sops to public opinion.
So much hangs in the balance with the court case. For the sake of Jennelyn, her children and family and the future of our nation, we need justice to be served in it's true spirit as enshrined in our national constitution.