Lawyers to seek stay on PM’s arrest

Lawyers representing Prime Minister Peter O’Neill have indicated they will be appealing the National Court’s decision that was handed down today, and ask the Supreme Court to restrain his arrest.

This was made known in court today after the National Court dismissed the case challenging the legality of the arrest warrant that was taken out against the Prime Minister in June 2014.

With the dismissal of the judicial review case and dismissal of the stay orders preventing the arrest, it now means that police can execute that arrest on the PM.

Director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, Matthew Damaru, said the onus is now on Police Commissioner Gari Baki to act on the warrant.

The National Fraud and Anti-Corruption office was instrumental in obtaining the arrest warrant from the Waigani District court on June 12, 2014.

This was after allegations of official corruption were leveled against the Prime Minister in relation to the Paraka bills and cost issue.

Damaru said his office will, “out of respect”, leave it to Commissioner Baki to act on the warrant.

Attempts to get comments from Commissioner Baki by this newsroom after the case were unsuccessful.

The Waigani National Court this morning dismissed a case filed by former Police Commissioner, Geoffery Vaki, challenging the legality of the arrest warrant that was issued by the District Court.

Presiding judge, Justice Collin Makail, in dismissing the review, said it was an abuse of the court process, adding criminal processes and procedures should not be stopped by civil court cases.

In an attempt to stop the orders of the court this morning from being endorsed, the Prime Minister’s lawyers went back to court after lunch with an application, asking it to delay the orders by 14 days.

The court refused the application, saying such orders can only be granted for circumstances of cases involving assessment of damages where time is needed to calculate cost by parties.

The court also said there was no evidence in place to show what is likely to take place if the orders are not delayed from coming into effect.

Justice Makail was not satisfied that the orders dismissing the review this morning should be extended by 14 days because the Prime Minister’s lawyers indicated appealing his decision in the Supreme Court.

Sally Pokiton
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