national court

Ijivitari petition dismissed

The National Court in Popondetta has dismissed the petition disputing Richard Masere’s election as Ijivitari member. It was dismissed for being incompetent.

It was filed by losing candidate Sheldon Deilala, who alleged seven counts of bribery against Masere.

Masere, through his lawyer Dane Mel of Mel and Henry Lawyers, filed an objection to competency, which was heard on Monday 5 February at the beginning of a 5-day trial in Popondetta, Northern Province.

The trial was scheduled from 5-9 February before Justice Iova Geita at National Court Popondetta.

Division to handle State-claim cases

The special administrative track was set up last year to specialise in the handling of case by or against the state.

The National Court currently has between 4,000 to 5,000 cases involving the state, such as statutory bodies and incorporations.

That caseload requires experienced judges to sit through and dispose of them in a qualitative way.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said the bulk of the state claims are actually registered at Waigani.

“Other judges are also dealing with the state claims outside Port Moresby…the caseload against the state is increasing.

Judiciary reasons out delay in cases

That is the period of time an accused person who pleads not guilty can wait for in the national courts.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said this is due to the limitation in the number of judges in the judiciary.

He said there is a need to separate the courts so that there can be judges who will be dedicated to dispose cases in the respective courts.

The restructure of the courts is pending the passing of the court of appeals bill that is currently before parliament.

Election petitions given priority

Despite being just a portion of cases before the court, the judiciary has set a timeline to dispose all those petition trial in the National Court by June this year.

“We’ve set a target. In terms of the reviews, some have already been filed and hope by end of this year will see through most of the reviews,” he said.

Election petition reviews filed in the Supreme Court so far include that filed by Francis Potape over the Hela regional petition and Mai Dop over the Jimi seat. More are expected to be filed.

Police misconduct high in human rights cases

Track administrator Justice David Cannings says a lot of the cases against the state arise from allegations of police misconduct or police brutality.

As more prisoners are being made aware of their rights and obligations, they are also filing human rights proceedings over mistreatment or violence allegedly being committed by other prisoners or correctional officers.   

“Vulnerable people do face problems when they are detained and we also have allegations against prison officers from time to time.”

Tatana trial stopped, cops discharged

Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika today discharged Philip Pokop, Lawrence Sausau, Ian Gunawi, Mariah Jones and Jeffrey Sheekiot from the murder allegations they were facing, putting a stop to their trial.

They were discharged after he upheld an application their lawyer moved in court.

At the close of state’s evidence yesterday, their lawyer this morning moved a no-case submission asking the court not to proceed to hear evidence from the accused in the case. This was on the ground the state did not meet certain requirements in the evidence act.

Tatana shooting case: Lawyers prepare statements

Lawrence Samson of East Sepik, Philip Pokop of Manus Province, Ian Gunawi also from East Sepik, and Jeffrey Sheekiot from Madang had their cases postponed yesterday for bail variation.

Maria Johns from Kubalia, Yangoru-Saussia district, also involved in the allegation, did not appear in court yesterday but is expected there on Monday with the others.

Court: Eluh’s dismissal illegal

 Eluh was dismissed from the constabulary over disciplinary reasons on 23 October 2015.  

He was however suspended on June 20, 2014 for a previous incident of insubordination.

Eluh served on a three-year contract from July 15, 2013, to July 15, 2016.

He was part of the team from the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, which was instrumental in investigating allegations of fraudulent funds from 2013 with the now abolished Investigation Task Force Sweep team.

Following a change in the Police Commissioner’s post, that suspension was lifted.

Judge echoes calls to look at polygamy

A judge in delivering sentence against a woman, who was earlier convicted for the wilful murder of her husband’s other wife, says presently there are calls to end polygamy in the country.

The courts have also been flooded with similar cases and Hela residential judge, Justice Martin Ipang, says the duty is now on parliament to act.

He says until parliament acts on polygamous marriages, men are under social obligation not to marry more than one woman, unless they are able to support everyone.

Siblings to stand trial

The case of grievous bodily harm against Alma Jagiri (33), Bernard Jagiri (29) of Tufi, was committed to the Waigani National Court for trial.

They will go for listing before the National Court at the end of the month.

Their younger brother, a 17-year-old was also implicated in the allegations, however his case was dismissed from the Juvenile court.

Both went appeared before Magistrate Mekeo Gauli asking for the case against them to be struck out too however he said the evidence against Bernard showed that he was very much involved in the fight too.