Appeals surrounding PM’s warrant joined

The two appeals that were filed by lawyers for the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill and Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, in the Supreme Court, surrounding the PM’s arrest warrant case have been joined together.

The two seperate appeals were joined after parties in the case agreed, that they had similar grounds, as both appeals arise from the same National Court decision, which dismissed the review case, challenging the legality of the arrest warrant that was taken out against the Prime Minister in June 2014.

With the appeals joined, Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill is now listed as the first appellant, Police Commissioner Gari Baki, is the second appellant, while Chief Magistrate Nerrie Eliakim, Former Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki and the state are listed as the first, second and third respondents.

There was no representation of the Chief Magistrate or the former Police Commissioner in court today.

The lawyer for the state told the court he was instructed to act for the state but not for the Chief Magistrate.

Justice Stephen Kassman, issued an order, putting the case on the fast track list.

The appellants in the meantime indicated they are yet to obtain court transcripts or court recordings of the review trial that was conducted in the National Court on April 19 this year.

Meanwhile the contempt applications that were filed and served on the five opposition members; Kerenga Kua, Sir Mekere Morauta, Belden Namah, Bryan Kramer and Patrick Pruaitch will return to court for further directions.

Pruaitch was served the notice on Wednesday, according to the Prime Minister’s lawyer in court.

The application essentially seeks the court to charge them of contempt of court, for allegedly making statements in the media and on the social media site, Facebook.

The statements made is alleged to have discussed the issues that are before the Supreme Court in the Appeal that is yet to be determined by the court.

The Waigani National Court on August 8, dismissed a case filed by former Police Commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki, challenging the legality of the arrest warrant that was issued by the District Court.

Presiding judge, Justice Collin Makail, in dismissing the review, said it was an abuse of the court process, adding criminal processes and procedures should not be stopped by civil court cases.

The Prime Minister’s lawyers then filed the appeal and obtained a stay against his arrest to preserve the status-quo, pending the outcome of the appeal.

A hearing date for the joined appeals will be set at a later date. 

Sally Pokiton