Court refuses Judge’s motion

A motion filed by lawyers representing Justice Sir Bernard Sakora asking the National Court to dismiss a judicial review filed by police officers in June last year has been refused.

The National Court’s Judicial Review track dismissed Sir Bernard’s motion this week because it was of the view that he filed the motion under the wrong provision of the National Court rules.

On June 7,2016, the Waigani Committal Court dismissed a case against Justice Sir Bernard Sakora on the charge of judicial corruption.

Chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru and Inspector Joel Simatab from the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate on June 30 last year filed a judicial review in the National Court against that decision.

Leave was to be sought in the National Court by the police officers for the court to review the Committal Court’s decision; however that was not done because they had no lawyers representing them.

Four months later, Sir Bernard filed the motion on 8 November 2016, asking the National Court to dismiss that judicial review. That motion was heard in court on March 9 this year before Justice Leka Nablu.

Sir Bernard’s motion asked the court to dismiss the entire judicial review proceeding for want of prosecution because it had taken the police too long to pursue the matter through the leave stage.

He also asked that the case be dismissed saying the judicial review did not disclose a reasonable cause of action, was an abuse of the court’s process and that the court should refuse leave due to delay in applying for leave by Damaru and Simatab.

In Judicial Review proceedings, leave must be sought from the court first. Once the court establishes there is sufficient interest by the aggrieved party as an arguable case, leave is granted for the judicial review to be heard.

On April 4, Justice Nablu refused Sir Bernard’s motion saying it was misconceived because his application failed to plead the correct provision of the National Court rules.

The court accepted submissions by Damaru and Simatab on March 9 that any interlocutory application to dismiss a judicial review case must be made under Order 16 of the National Court Rules and not under Order 4 as submitted by Sir Bernard through his lawyer Loani Henao.

Justice Nablu also said that the only party that had the right to be heard on a leave application stage of a judicial review proceeding would be the State.

The matter will return to court on April 18.

Sally Pokiton