Francis Potape

EC calls witnesses in Hela petition

Petitioner Francis Potape called a total of 27 witnesses to give evidence in court.

The Electoral Commission opened its case on Friday in the petition trial over the Hela Regional Seat, filed by Francis Potape.

Provincial returning officer for Hela, John Tipa, was called to the stand to give evidence in relation to statements he filed.

Tipa will return to the stand on Monday. The Electoral Commission intends to call two more witnesses before Undialu can call his witnesses.

The petitioner had a total of 59 witnesses, however only 27 were called to the stand.

Scrutineers give evidence in Hela petition

Justice Joseph Yagi is presiding over the trial which commenced last Friday.

Francis Potape’s scrutineer in the election, Tape Pulupe, was called to the stand yesterday to give evidence.

Dr Hewali Hemia’s sole scrutineer in the election was also called yesterday to give evidence.

He was questioned by Philip Undialu’s lawyer on certain parts of his affidavit, which they thought were similar to the affidavit of Potape’s lawyer.

The trial continues.

Potape gives evidence in trial

Potape is challenging Philip Undialu’s declaration of 24 July 2017 in Tari.

He petitioned the court to make findings into the final results of the election and determine who scored the highest votes.

He alleges the Returning Officer did not publicly declare the winner with the votes collected before putting Undialu on the writ.

The issue of the petition is what transpired on 23 July 2017 after he was informed by his scrutineer Tape Pulupe and the Assistant Provincial Returning Officer, Anna Pame, in the afternoon to get ready for his declaration.

Potape’s petition back for trial

A three-man Supreme Court bench reinstated the case for trial in the National Court.

Out of the 79 petitions filed disputing election results last year, Potape’s petition is the first to be remitted to the National Court after a successful review by the Supreme Court.

It was dismissed on January 24 as it was found to be incompetent. The National Court saw that essential facts that should have been pleaded to support the two grounds of the petition were not stated.

Potape petition review next week

Francis Potape’s petition challenging Philip Undialu’s election as Hela Governor was dismissed by the National Court on January 24.

The National Court threw out the petition because essential facts were not pleaded to support the two petition grounds.

The court upheld Undialu’s challenge on the competency of the petition, and found alternate pleadings were instead stated, which made it confusing for the court.

Potape was seeking to be declared by the court as member-elect. The court found that relief sought was based on assumptions.

Potape’s leave application successful

The Supreme Court this afternoon granted him leave to proceed with the review of the National Court decision that dismissed his election petition.

The petition was dismissed on grounds of competency.

He was challenging Philip Undialu’s win as the Hela Governor.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia granted the leave on grounds that there are very serious allegations in the case that only a proper trial will need to address.

(Loop file pic)

Petitioners seek review in Supreme Court

Francis Potape’s petition was dismissed by the National Court on January 24. He was challenging Philip Undialu’s win as Hela Governor.

He will be seeking leave of the Supreme Court to review the reasons behind the dismissal of his petition next Wednesday.

The grounds of the review are on the basis that the National Court went outside the objection grounds raised by Undialu and made findings on its own.

The high court will hear the review if leave is granted.

The petitioner in the Jimi Open seat has also filed for review in the Supreme Court.

Potape to file for review

His lawyer, Paul Othas, informed this newsroom they are still compiling the review.

He said the grounds of the review are on the basis that the National Court went outside the objection grounds raised by Undialu and made findings on its own.

“The petitioner is entitled to a review,” Othas said.

They will be seeking leave of the Supreme Court to review the dismissal. The high court will hear the review if it gets past the leave stage.

Potape's petition dismissed

The Waigani National Court today threw out the petition because essential facts that should have been pleaded to support the two grounds of the petition were not stated by Potape.

The petition was on grounds of errors and omission and illegal practice against the Electoral Commission, its servants and agents.

He claimed the returning officer failed to comply with section 175 of the Organic law, and challenged the final process of the election which led to Undialu being declared governor.  

Hela leaders call for respect

Petitioners Francis Potape, Dr Hewali Hemia and incumbent MP Philip Undialu had their lawyers address the court today on whether to hear the two petitions separately or together after Undialu’s lawyer asked the court to vary the orders which joined the two petitions for trial.

Potape, who brought in a total of 60 witnesses from Hela, Mt Hagen, Lae and as far as Wewak, is calling for respect and peace among the supporters.

“I don’t want anyone to threaten anyone. No one should threaten any of the witnesses,” Potape said.