Manus MP's review thrown out

The Waigani National Court has dismissed the Judicial Review filed by Ronny Knight challenging the Leadership Tribunal's decision recommending his dismissal from office back in 2015.

Justice Collin Makil, in his decision this morning, found that the Leadership Tribunal's decision was not unreasonable and bias, thus the penalty recommendation for dismissal from office should stand.

He said the member’s review failed, dismissing it with cost as he was of the view that Knight was not denied a fair hearing.

This decision of the review came a day before the issue of writs tomorrow, after the trial was conducted in April last year.

The disappointed member said he will seek legal advice on his next step, indicating a Supreme Court appeal.

"I feel that the timing of the decision, which was supposed to be within 2 weeks last April, is ominous.

"I feel my rights to a fair trial have been overlooked and it is a miscarriage of justice. However, I still believe in the judicial system of this country and I am exercising my right to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court. My lawyers are working on this now.

"I maintain that I will defend my seat," Knight said.

On 1 May 2015, members of the tribunal recommended that Knight be dismissed from office after he was found guilty of misappropriating DSIP funds on March 20, 2015.

The allegations are in relation to funds from the District Services Improvement Program (DSIP), with the purchase of Manus district vessel MV Trader Star and the engagement of a consultation firm, Pokarop and Morton Company Limited.

The vessel was bought at a total cost of K2.5 million on an ‘as is where is’ basis and an additional K180, 670.30 was used to make alterations to the boat before it was shipped to Manus.

More detailed report of Justice Makail's decision to follow later.

(File picture of Ronny Knight outside the courthouse)

Sally Pokiton