UPNG SRC President’s permanent exclusion stayed

A temporary stay was granted by the Waigani National Court today on the permanent exclusion of studies against UPNG SRC President Kenneth Rapa and 12 other student leaders.

Rapa and 12 others who were members of the now suspended, Student Representative Council filed an urgent application seeking leave for a judicial review into their permanent exclusion from studies on Aug 9.

The 2016 Student Representative Council has been permanently suspended after the UPNG Council removed their powers prior the resumption of semester one classes on Sept 5. 

The stay against the students’ exclusion was granted after Justice Collin Makail granted leave or allowed for a judicial review to be conducted.

But the stay against their exclusion was not granted without a warning from Justice Makail. He told the students that the university is a place for studies and the stay should serve as a lesson to them.

“I hope that the stay of decision (University’s decision) will not give them a platform to further their cause. There is clear evidence of properties being destroyed during the unrest and someone was responsible for that,” he said in court.

Their lawyer will have until Oct 20 to fix and file relevant court documents for the substantive hearing of the review.

A case that was earlier filed by seven other student leaders will also return to court on Oct 20.

The court in allowing the students urgent application was satisfied that they had an arguable case given time was running out for them. Classes for semester 1 will end this Friday and students will go into study break before Exams commence on Oct 17.

The court also took into consideration the students were not charged nor given the opportunity to respond to allegations against them prior to the university council’s decision to permanently exclude them from studies.

Respective appeals were filed by the students to the council between Aug 28 and Sept 5. The outcome of their respective appeals remains unknown.

(Pictured is Kenneth Rapa and other student leaders with their lawyer outside court today.)


Sally Pokiton