​Judge files appeal in Supreme Court

Lawyer representing Justice Sir Bernard Sakora will be asking the Supreme Court to stay the decision of the National Court, allowing leave to judicially review the dismissal of his case in the committal court.

Sir Bernard’s lawyer, Loani Henao, filed an appeal in the Supreme Court on Monday to challenge a National Court decision that was made on June 1 by Justice Leka Nablu.

The appeal was filed with an application to stay the decision of June 1.

The National Court on June 1 granted leave to Inspector Joel Simatab and Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru to review a decision made by Magistrate John Kaumi, at the Waigani Committal Court last year, that dismissed a charge of judicial corruption laid against Sir Bernard.

There are six grounds in the appeal.

One of the grounds was that Justice Nablu erred in law in granting leave for judicial review by failing to consider that a civil court lacked jurisdiction to review criminal prosecutions.

The grounds also included that Justice Nablu erred in law in granting leave for judicial review when Simatab and Damaru did not show that they had an arguable case and standing, and that they did not exhaust the administrative avenue of seeking the public prosecutor’s direction before filing the judicial review proceeding.

Simatab and Damaru commenced the judicial review proceeding on June 30 last year to challenge the decision of Magistrate Kaumi to dismiss the charge of judicial corruption against Sir Bernard.

Substantively, the senior police officers are asking the court to quash the decision of the Committal Court dated 7 June 2016, and compel the district court to rehear the committal proceeding before a different magistrate.

Sir Bernard was arrested and charged for judicial corruption, under section 119 of the criminal code, on April 7 from allegations that arose from a commercial transaction between his honour and a law firm in Port Moresby.

His case went through the Committal Court process and on June 30 last year, Magistrate Kaumi dismissed the charge against Sir Bernard on the basis that Simatab did not obtain a direction from the public prosecutor before arresting him, as required under section 119(5) of the Criminal Code Act.

Aggrieved by the Committal Court’s decision, the police officers asked the national court to judicially review his decision.

Leave to judicially review that decision was allowed on June 1. Sir Bernard is now appealing this in the Supreme Court.

Sally Pokiton