Court grants Paraka’s leave application

The Supreme Court has granted the review into the leave application for convicted lawyer, Paul Paraka yesterday in Port Moresby.

Presided over by Justice David Cannings as a single judge, Cannings has granted the application based on the strong conviction from Paraka after he presented valid arguments before the court.

Some of his convictions are due to lack of evidence, and the constitutional right he has to review the decision of the National Court to the Supreme Court, which was a breach because the judge who made the ruling did not take these approaches before sentencing Paraka.

After hearing Paraka’s statement, Cannings referred to his decision on a similar case and made the ruling based on his decision from the case taking a new approach to Paraka’s case.

“What I said in that judgement was something I think that was not said before by a judge in the supreme court ramping with the judgement of whether or not the prisoner should appeal against sentenced. I borrowed from my judgement and I will follow my judgement for an approach that should be taken in this application,” he said

“What I said in that case was that there should be a presumption in favour of granting leave for a prisoner who appeals against sentence,” he said.

Cannings said the reasons for that fall under section 37 of the Constitution which states the right of a prisoner to have their sentence reviewed by a higher court.

“The other reason I took to grant the leave is because a prisoner sentenced by the national court has one opportunity to appeal by a higher court,” he said

He said the other approach is that the public prosecutor has the right without any requirement to obtain leave under the Supreme Court act against the sentence.

“The 20-year sentence of Parka was imposed on him without giving him ample time to appeal because he has a right to appeal,” he said.

However, these approaches were not taken by the judge who made the ruling to sentence Paraka on October 04th 2023 to 20 years on five counts of misappropriation of K162million public monies.

Therefore, based on his arguments and facts before the court, Caninings ruled to grant Paraka the leave into his application.