The late judge who presided over cases in Tari, Hela province, passed on in the early hours of April 3rd in Port Moresby after an illness. He was 52.
From the remote villages of Warkoma- Medebur in the Bogia district of Madang province, the late Justice Martin Ipang began his career with the Lae City Council and in 1991 as a magistrate in the Morobe province.
While serving as a magistrate, he attended UPNG where he obtained his law degree in 2002.
Between 2003 and 2004 he attended the Cardiff law school, in Whales, the UK where he graduated in 2005 with Masters in Commercial Law.
In 2010, he was appointed as an acting judge of the National Court for two terms before appointed a full time judge of the National and Supreme Court in 2013. He was posted to Tari in 2014.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said Justice Ipang’s work speaks of commitment.
He accepted the challenge to go to Tari even when there was no judge resident base or proper court facility there.
“Tari as a resident location did not excite many volunteers, particularly because there was no National Court facility,” says Sir Salamo.
“Knowing what Tari is, maybe because it played in the minds of the judges who were reluctant to volunteer to serve in Tari but Justice Ipang accepted the challenge.
“I wanted someone to serve in Tari with criminal and commercial law qualification and experience, given that Hela province had potential to generate commercial disputes as a result of the large scale economic activities that were taking place in the province,” he added.
By the time Justice Ipang passed on, the National Court establishment in Tari had been completed.
President of PNG Law Society Dr Vergil Narokobi described Justice Ipang as a quiet achiever whose comments in cases he presided over, demonstrated a man, deeply interested in the welfare of his country.
“He made some important observations that must be taken seriously if we are to meaningfully respond to our challenges,” Dr Narokobi said.
“In Oct 2017, it was reported that after he sentenced a woman for the murder of her husband’s other wife, commented that parliament seriously needed to look at these issues that arise from domestic settling.
“In another important case, after convicting three man, he said there was a need to introduce whistle blowers laws to protect people who report corrupt and criminal practices.
“His commentary demonstrated a man, deeply interested in the welfare of his country.
“Justice Ipang leaves us, making his mark, for the betterment of this country contributing to nation building, and the law and justice sector,” he added.