Paraka seeks to stop indictment presentation

A motion seeking to stop the Public Prosecutor from performing his function, in presenting an ex-officio indictment in court to proceed a criminal trial against the principal of Paraka lawyers, will be heard in the National Court next month.

On 10 December 2018, Paul Paraka was cleared by the Committal Court of 27 charges of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering. The charges were laid on 31 July 2014 following investigations by the abolished Investigation Task Force Sweep. Following its disbandment, the District Court saw the charges as an abuse of court process, dismissing the case.

Under section 526 of the Criminal Code Act, where a court of summary jurisdiction refuses to commit a person for trial for an indictable offense, the Public Prosecutor can consider evidence from the Committal Court depositions and present an indictment or charge document against an accused person to stand trial in the National Court.

Five months ago, an ex-officio indictment was prepared by the Public Prosecutor to be presented in court against Paraka to progress the trial however, that has been delayed.

In May, Paraka had filed a human rights proceeding where he took out interim orders preventing the state from presenting the indictment.

On August 30, that proceeding was dismissed and he filed an urgent application before the Supreme Court, seeking to stay the presentation of the indictment in the Crimes court track.

The application seeks to stay the orders issued by Justice David Cannings in dismissing the case, and reinstate the interim orders, this time against the state.

With the appeal still before the Supreme Court, the trial judge is mindful whether the court can accept the indictment when presented, despite the Public Prosecutor having the powers to do so under section 526 of the Criminal Code act.

The court adjourned the matter to December 6 for hearing.

Sally Pokiton