Petitions’ pre-trial Centralised in Waigani

The Court of Disputed Returns has centralised all election petitions’ pre-trial and status conference at the Waigani National Court.

Justice Collin Makail explained this week in court that the petitions will be heard in provinces where judges are based, when it goes to the trial stage.

For now, all directions hearing and pre-trials are being centralised in Waigani.

He made these comments when the petition filed against Bogia MP, Robert Naguri, went for directions.

Naguri was not present in court for directions nor was his lawyer when petitioner, Darius Kombe’s lawyer, asked the court to have the next directions hearing done in Wewak, where he is based.

In the petition filed by Kombe on 30 August, he is alleging errors and omissions on the part of the Electoral Commission.

Kombe is seeking a re-count of 2,725 votes, saying requests to have those votes re-counted were refused by the returning officer during scrutiny process.

He intends to call eight witnesses for the trial and was given three weeks to prepare and file their statements in preparation for trial.

Kombe’s lawyer anticipates the petition should take at least two days and also made a request for the petition to be heard in Madang.

The Electoral Commission has been ordered to produce tally sheets for the trial.

The petition returns mid-October for pre-trial conference before the trial date can be set.

Sally Pokiton