​Late retired Justice Kawi farewelled

The late retired Justice John Kawi was a rising star in the legal circle when he started his career.

Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika said this when giving his tribute on behalf of the judiciary at the thanksgiving mass yesterday (May 24).

He described the late judge as a fearless lawyer in his early years of practise prior to his appointment to the bench.

He thanked the immediate family of the late judge and the people of Madang for giving a son who became a very talented lawyer and judge and for sharing him with the rest of Papua New Guinea.

“He died at a very early age. 52 years old and to die, is too young,” Sir Gibbs said.

The late retired judge served on the committee of the Julian Moti enquiry where Sir Gibbs was the chairman. 

He also contributed immensely to the drafting of the Alternate Dispute Resolution or mediation court.

His youngest daughter, Josephine Kawi, also paid tribute in an emotional eulogy.

He was born on 19 September 1963 and was educated in Madang before making his way to the University of Papua New Guinea.

He graduated from the School of Law in 1989 and later admitted to the bar the same year.

As a young lawyer, he rose to become the Solicitor General.

He even tried his hand in politics, contesting the 2002 National General Elections.

Unsuccessful in the race for political office, he joined the O’Briens lawyers and continued contributing to the country.

It was not until 15 September, 2008, where he was appointed to the bench of the National and Supreme Court by the Judicial Legal Service Commission.

He commenced work as a Judge on 16th February, 2010, when he was sworn in at government house by his Excellency Sir Paulius Matane.

His term was for ten years, which was to expire on 16 February, 2020. He retired on medical grounds by Judicial & Legal Services Commission on 5th February 2016.

He served for less than 5 years as he fell ill and was not well all throughout 2015.

At the time of his retirement, he was the resident Judge for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

The late judge’s wish is to be laid to rest at Nine-Mile, Port Moresby. He will be laid to rest today (Thursday) at 3pm.

(Justice Collin Makail and his wife paying their respects to the late judge during the funeral yesterday)  

Sally Pokiton