Hela petition asked to be heard separately

The Waigani National Court is deliberating on an application by incumbent Hela Governor, Philip Undialu, on whether the two election petitions disputing his win should go for trial together.

Undialu’s lawyer filed an application seeking to vary the order of 17 November 2017, which joined the two petitions filed by Francis Potape and Dr Hewali Hemia for trial.

Justice Ellenas Batari today heard arguments in court and will give a ruling next week.

Undialu’s lawyer submitted in court today that the two petitions should be tried separately because they have different factual scenarios and seek different reliefs.  

The petition filed by Potape seeks orders of the court to nullify Undialu’s election and declare him the duly elected member.

The relief sought in the petition filed by Dr Hemia is a by-election.

Goiye Gileng, who acts for Undialu, submitted that if both petitions go for trial together or as consolidated petitions, there will be a miscarriage of justice.

Lawyers representing the two petitioners did not oppose the application to vary the orders, but suggested to Justice Batari that the petitions should be heard separately, consecutively and given one decision by the court.     

Each petitioner submitted their respective petitions should be heard ahead of another but Undialu’s lawyer asked the court to have Dr Hemia’s petition go for trial first.

Gileng submitted that the outcome of Dr Hemia’s petition should be heard first as the outcome will still affect Potape’s petition.

A ruling on this application will be given next week. 

Sally Pokiton