Maprik petition dismissed

The National Court has dismissed the election petition filed by Vincent Alois Yangwari , disputing John Simon’s election on grounds of bribery and illegal practice.

The trial hearing that was to take place in Wewak will not eventuate now after the court today found the petition incompetent, stopping it simply because Yangwari failed to comply with Form 1 of the 2017 specific Election Petition rules.

Yangwari also failed to state material facts in the petition to support the numerous allegations of bribery and illegal practice stated in the petition.

Last week Simon, through his lawyer Tony Waisi, asked the court to dismiss the petition and stop it from proceeding to trial because specifics were not stated in the petition.

Justice Derek Hartshorn today gave a ruling on the objection motion Simon moved in court.

The court found the requirement of the 2017 Election Petition rules were not complied with.

“Here both witnesses, their residential addresses are not complete, their postal addresses are not complete and their work place addresses are not given,” the court ruled.

The petition did not comply with the requirements of section 208(d) of the Organic Law as well as Form 1 requirement of the 2017 Election Petition rules.

Justice Hartshorn also found that there were insufficient facts stated by the petitioner over Simon’s conduct to constitute the bribery allegations.

“What is pleaded is too vague and general,” he said. This is because the names of persons described as eligible voters, voters and scrutineers alleged to have been given money, were not stated.

The grounds of the petition concerning allegation of illegal practice were also too general and do not state specific materials that should support the grounds.

The winning margin, absolute majority and total number of allowable ballot papers that remained in count after the final exclusion before declaration have not been pleaded, the court is unable to determine whether the result of the election was likely to be or was affected, as it is a requirement to, pursuant to section 215(3)(a) Organic Law. Consequently the pleadings relating to illegal practice should be struck out.

Yangwari did not specifically state that the illegal practice affected the election results.

The petition was dismissed with costs to be paid by the petitioner.

(Maprik MP John Simon)

Sally Pokiton