Representing the petitioner, Kiso, was Moses Murray from Murray and Associates Lawyers, while the first respondent, Ling-Stuckey, was represented by Ian Shepherd from Ashurst Lawyers, and the second respondent, Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai, was represented by Serah Kunai from Jema Lawyers.
The petition challenged Ling-Stuckey’s election as Member for Kavieng Open in the 2022 general elections on grounds of bribery, undue influence and illegal practice.
The respondents filed separate objections to the competency of the petition, which was heard on Monday, June 5th, and adjourned to this morning for ruling.
Under section 208 (d) of the ‘Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections’, two witnesses are mandated to state their occupations and addresses; the latter is where the precise section, lot number or street name must be provided.
The court found that the attesting witnesses in the petition; Tom Bais and Chris Alickson, gave their postal addresses, “which is not recognised by section 208 (d)”.
“The petition failed to comply with Rule 4 of the Election Petition Rules,” said judge George Manuhu.
“I am accordingly satisfied that the petition failed to comply with the mandatory requirement of section 208 (d) and I have no intention to waive or ignore the failure.
“Accordingly, I find this petition to be incompetent and, for that reason, it is dismissed with costs which, if not agreed, shall be taxed.
“The security deposit (K5,000) shall be paid to the respondents in equal shares.”
(Kavieng MP, Ian Ling-Stuckey, meeting his supporters outside the Kavieng courthouse)