​Date set for PM’s warrant appeal hearing

A hearing date has been set for the full court to hear arguments on the joined appeals surrounding the arrest warrant, which was filed by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Police Commissioner Gari Baki.

The matter was set down for the end of October by the Supreme Court today.

The two separate appeals were joined after parties in the case agreed that they had similar grounds, as both emanate from the same National Court decision which dismissed the review case, challenging the legality of the arrest warrant that was taken out against the Prime Minister in June 2014.

Justice Stephen Kassman last month issued an order putting the case on the fast track list.

PM O’Neill is listed as the first appellant, Commissioner Baki is the second appellant while Chief Magistrate Nerrie Eliakim, former police commissioner Geoffrey Vaki and the state are listed as the first, second and third respondents.

However there has been no representation of the Chief Magistrate in court for the appeal since it was filed. It was the same in the National Court proceeding.

The lawyer for the state told the court he was instructed to act for the state but not for the Chief Magistrate.

The Waigani National Court on August 8 dismissed a case filed by former police commissioner Vaki, challenging the legality of the arrest warrant that was issued by the District Court.

Presiding judge Justice Collin Makail, in dismissing the review, said it was an abuse of the court process, adding criminal processes and procedures should not be stopped by civil court cases.

The Prime Minister’s lawyers then filed the appeal and obtained a stay against his arrest to preserve the status-quo, pending the outcome of the appeal.







Sally Pokiton