Pala calls on Baki to instill discipline

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Ano Pala, today called on Police Commissioner Gari Baki to instill and return discipline to the police force after the Supreme Court ruled in his favour.

In receiving the court decision today, Pala said he is humbled at the decision of the Supreme Court which found that the warrant issued for his arrest from June 2014 was defective.

A three-man Supreme Court bench today declared that warrant void and of no effect, quashing his committal court proceeding that stems from that warrant. The warrant was taken out by Director of Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate Matthew Damaru at the District Court.

“The court has now stated clearly that the power to obtain and arrest a person (thus depriving them of their personal liberty) is not a simple matter or simple power.

“A warrant arrest being a court order is a serious matter, and police who exercise the powers of arrest must apply those powers with due care and diligence in order to uphold the rule of law.”

He said powers when misapplied or abused will see the rule of law itself erode.

“Unfortunately, it’s only a few members in the force who are bringing a bad name and reputation to our hardworking police force.

“To maintain innocence until proven guilty is the cornerstone legal tent of our system of justice. I thank the Supreme Court for ensuring the continued survival of that cornerstone principal of criminal justice in PNG,” he said.

Pala also went on to assure the people that he will support the work of the police force as the Attorney-General and so that they (police) may succeed in performing their constitutional duties independently.

The court found that Pala acting on instructions in filing proceeding OS 115 of 2014, is not an unlawful act that alleges an offense known to law. He was alleged to have conspired with Peter O’Neill, Geoffrey Vaki, James Marape and others to file a case.

“This is not an unlawful act. Indeed it is an act incapable of being a criminal act. The purpose of filing is alleged to be to legitimise bills paid to Paul Paraka by way of declaration or taxation,” the court ruled.

Sally Pokiton