Court wants full transcripts of Namah’s tribunal

The National Court has issued directions to lawyers for suspended Vanimo-Green MP, Belden Namah, to file and serve the complete copy of transcript of the leadership tribunal.

This is the judicial review case which Namah filed seeking leave of the court to judicially review the process in which he was found guilty by the Leadership Tribunal and recommended for dismissal.

Arguments of the leave application were heard on May 30 by Justice Oagile Bethuel Key Dinake and a decision reserved.  

During submission on May 30, Namah’s lawyer, while seeking leave, put to court that the tribunal members fell into a constitutional error in not following due process in the appointment of the tribunal.

They also put to court, the tribunal failed to afford natural justice to the leader by inviting him to suggest penalty after a guilty verdict was handed down on April 9.    

Yesterday, Justice Dinake called parties to court, reopening the hearing to allow them to address him on the issue of penalty because the copy of the transcript given to court by Namah’s lawyers was not complete.

The materials filed did not include transcripts of 7-10 November 2017.

The transcript had missing pages which the court was not able to verify or reconcile submissions put in court by Namah’s lawyers.

Lawyer for the leadership tribunal told court the onus is on the applicant seeking leave to make out case and should make available the full copy of the transcript of the tribunal hearing.

Justice Dinake issued directions for those documents to be made available by June 20. Parties will return to court on July 2 to be heard on the issue of penalty, imposed by the tribunal on Namah.

The gist of Namah’s application seeking leave is over the failure by the tribunal to allow him an opportunity to address the court on penalties after the finding of guilt and not before.

Sally Pokiton