​Students’ fight not over, says lawyer

​Lawyer representing the University of Papua New Guinea students, SRC president Kenneth Rapa and the student representative council, said the fight is not over despite the court’s ruling this afternoon.

Speaking to the media outside the Waigani Court house, Laken Lepatu Aigilo said: “Let me put to the nation that this does not mean that the fight is over. We will look into other means if it means to draft separate proceedings, we will do so. We will look into how we can seek justice.”

He made these statements after the National Court refused orders from a human rights case that was moved this morning.

“The fight is not over. We will fight until we see justice and I pledge to fight for the students, not to be paid for what I do but as a citizen of this country I am providing free legal service to the students. I support the students, we will stand with them and fight, it is not over,” he said.

This morning, an application seeking three main orders of the National Court was moved before Justice Derek Hartshorn.

In that application, the students through their SRC president and student council asked the court to restrain police from being deployed at the UPNG Waigani and Taurama campus.

The application also sought an order of the court to restrain police from arresting the student leaders and from harassing them.

They also sought an order of the court to summon Police Commissioner Gari Baki, NCD/Central Commander Sylvester Kalaut and NCD Metropolitan Superintendent Ben Turi to come to court and explain why they ordered the shooting of the students on June 8.

The substantive relief of the third order sought was for the court to declare that the shooting was ordered by the three above, as those who shot at the students were low ranked officers who were acting on orders ‘from above’.

All these orders sought by the students were refused by the court this afternoon. Justice Hartshorn found that the issues were not serious issues to be tried.

He ruled that police cannot be prevented from performing their constitutional function or be stopped by the Court from conducting investigations.

Justice Hartshorn also found the balance of convenience did not favour the students, adding they can still sue damages from police.

He said the students have rights under the constitution but the interim injunction they are seeking is an interference of the constitutional function of the Police force.


Sally Pokiton