Petition against Marape continues to trial

An Election petition filed challenging the win of Tari-Pori MP, James Marape, will proceed to trial after an application by his lawyer to have it dismissed was refused by the court today.

Marape’s lawyer filed an application, to summarily dismiss one of the two petitions, that was filed against the Minister for Finance and Rural Development.

It was filed after Petitioner, Johnny Pokaya’s lawyers failed to comply with directions of the court, which were issued on September 13, to assist parties prepare themselves for trial.

Pokaya’s lawyer did not comply with orders to file witness statements by October 4, as they were dealing with another interlocutory application by Marape’s lawyers to have the case dismissed.

At the same time Marape’s application was moved, Pokaya also asked the court to allow an extension of time so his lawyers can file those witness statements.

Parties presented their arguments in the two motions today, before Justice Collin Makail gave a ruling.

He refused to dismiss the petition, on grounds of non-compliance to court directions, in the interest of interest, and allowed it to process further for trial.

But he ordered Pokaya to pay cost for the two applications that were moved in court today for their non-compliance of directions.

The case will return to court next month where trial date will be set.

Speaking outside court, Marape said two candidates who filed petitions against him are testing the waters in the Election petition.

"That’s the normal process in law and I appeal to the people of Hela, my electoral, people and supporters, allow the court to deal with the matter, and hopefully in my favor,” he said. 

Sally Pokiton