Detainees join Namah’s Supreme Court case

Detainees at the Manus Regional Processing Centre have been allowed joinder in the Supreme Court proceeding filed by Belden Namah that found the establishment of the centre unconstitutional and illegal.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia yesterday afternoon granted the joinder of all asylum seekers who are parties to two proceedings currently before the Supreme Court.  

Although the orders issued yesterday cover those who are part of the cases as parties, the case filed by Namah covers over 900 transferees who were brought to PNG against their will to be processed in Manus. 

Lawyer representing 300 of those asylum seekers, who are part of the two court cases, was in court yesterday when the orders were granted.

The joinder of asylum seekers now also means their detention is illegal as per the orders issued by the court on April 26.

Ben Lomai said the court, allowing his clients to join the case that was filed by Namah in 2013, now paves way for him to apply for consequential orders for the release and compensation of the asylum seekers.

The consequential orders will be sought from the proceeding SCA 84 of 2013, which saw a five-judge Supreme Court bench order both Australia and Papua New Guinea governments to take all necessary steps to cease the operations of the regional processing centre in Manus.

The five-man bench on April 26 ruled that the detention breached the right to personal liberty in the Constitution.

Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika, Justices Sir Bernard Sakora, Ambeng Kandakasi, Don Sawong and Terence Higgins all sat on this bench.

Picture source: ABC

Sally Pokiton