Court dismisses election petition against Rosso

The Waigani Supreme Court on Friday 21st June dismissed the leave to review the decision of the National Court by Petitioner Matthew Minape challenging Lae MP and Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso's win during the 2022 National General Election.

Minape challenged the declaration of Rosso in an election petition filed on 24th August, 2022 in the National Court.

It was before the Court that Minape’s petition was based on allegations of errors and omission and legal practices.

He alleged that the Returning Officer at that time was someone Rosso knew which led to the changing of polling locations. Minape alleged that security officers were also paid (bribed) during that time.

Both Rosso and the Election Commissioner object to the competency of the petition. The trial judge heard and upheld the objection and dismissed the petition on the 16th of May 2023 because the petition lacked proper pleading materials.

The Petitioner then filed an application in the Supreme Court on 25th May 2023 to review that decision, his application was refused on 24th August 2023.

The Petitioner filed a fresh application on September 4th, 2023 to review the decision.

In the application, the petitioner sought leave of the court to approve the adoption of procedures under the National Court rules regarding the filling of a notice of motion to remedy the lack of form and procedure under the Supreme Court rules for filling a notice of motion order 11 rule 26, and that the Court order the application to leave as incompetent.

The decision of that application was made by a men's bench consisting of Judge Justice John Kariko, Justice Thomas Anis, and Justice Dr. Vergil Narokobi, who dismissed the application. The decision was read by Justice Kariko.

They ruled that there shall be only one hearing of the objection. If the objection is heard and determined by the Court, the declaration is final. The application prescribed by Order 11 rules 25 and 26 of the Supreme Court is not available in relation to a decision on an objection to the competency of an application to leave to review. Improper use of the court's process amounts to an abuse of the court's process.

Their order is as follows;

  • The application filed on 4th September 2023 is dismissed for being incompetent and an abuse of process.
  • The respondents shall pay the application cost of and incidental to the application, to be taxed if not agreed.
  • The case is referred to the Registrar to be listed for hearing of the application for leave to apply for review filled 25th May 2023.
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