PNG High court rejects PM’s bid
The Papua New Guinea Supreme Court has rejected an application by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and two other MPs to join as parties in a case filed by Opposition leader Don Polye seeking the recall of Parliament before July 27.
O’Neill, Finance Minister James Marape and Southern Highlands Governor William Powi last Friday moved an application for intervention to join Polye’s case. But the court rejected it because the substantive issue did not affect them. [restrict]
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika and Justice Colin Makail said O’Neill, Marape and Powi did not have sufficient interest in the main issue before the court.
The court said it would get bogged down with a lot of issues if O’Neill and the two MPs were allowed to join the case.
Lawyer Mal Varitimos QC, representing O’Neill, moved an application to intervene to have his client join as a party to the case.
He said O’Neill had an interest in the matter because the motion of no confidence was made against him.
Lawyer John Griffin QC, representing Marape, said Marape had an interest in the matter too as he was the Leader of Government Business.
Powi’s lawyer Emmanuel Asigau argued that the allegations have been raised against his client.
Lawyer Cook Marshall representing Polye objected to the applications for intervention because O’Neill, Marape and Powi could have moved it earlier.
Polye is asking the court to recall Parliament to debate a motion of no confidence against O’Neill.
He argues that the case would be futile by July 27 because Section 145 of the Constitution would come into effect then.
Meanwhile, the case filed in court by Opposition leader Don Polye seeking a recall of Parliament returns on Wednesday for hearing.
Parties appeared in court last Friday for the hearing but the matter was adjourned because lawyer Ian Molloy was not ready to proceed.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika and Justice Colin Makail allowed Molloy an additional four days to prepare his case.
Molloy is representing the speaker, deputy speaker and the chairman of the permanent parliamentary committee on private business.
The court was to have heard arguments on whether Polye had the standing to bring his case to the Supreme Court.
The court also ordered the parties to file and serve any further affidavits by close of business tomorrow.
Sir Gibbs said he allowed the adjournment because Molloy had received the court documents late to prepare his submissions.
If the court grants Polye standing, the matter would proceed to the substantive hearing.
Molloy asked for the matter to return to court on Friday to give him an opportunity to have a fair hearing.
Polye’s lawyer Cook Marshall objected to an adjournment because Molloy’s submissions were vague.
Marshall said he was curious as to what the disputed facts were which Molloy intended to adduce evidence for. SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS [/restrict]