Review - This week in court

It has been a quiet week for the courts this week, mostly due to the polling period.

Despite this week seeing Supreme Court sittings held at Waigani, other lower courts were quiet.

Most cases in the National Court were deferred while in Port Morebsy, the District Court saw matters deferred to other dates on Tuesday and Friday, mainly due to the engagement of police prosecutors in the security operation for NCD polling.

In East New Britain, a grandfather was sentenced to 39 years in prison for the persistent sexual abuse of his two granddaughters by the Kokopo National Court.

One of victims was born out of an incestuous relationship the 55-year-old man had with his biological daughter.

The abuse of the two girls aged 13 and 10 years old took place back in 2013.

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Back to Waigani and in the Supreme Court, an appeal that was filed in the Supreme Court concerning the returning and assistant returning officers in the Hagen Open electorate was dismissed.

The appeal filed by two candidates vying for the Hagen Open seat this election James Yoka Ekip and Simon Sanagke was challenging a decision of the National Court.

The appeal was challenging the National Court’s decision in refusing leave to judicially review the decision of Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, in appointing Paul Goema and Andrew Kerowa, as the returning officer and assistant returning officer respectively.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that both candidates did not have sufficient interest as persons whose interest is directly affected by the decision of the Electoral Commission.

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In the District courts, the case of sea piracy and murder involving six men from Tatana village on August 15 last year is still before the Committal Courts, eight months on since the matter was first mentioned in court.

This case has been outstanding because the court is awaiting submissions from the six defendants’ lawyers.

It went for mention on Monday during a Committal Court sitting before Magistrate John Kaumi at Bomana, where he adjourned the case to July 17.


As the country is into the election period, 90 state lawyers will be engaged from the offices of the Public Prosecutor, Solicitor General and State Solicitors to supervise counting and give advice to the Electoral Commission.

This exercise will save the state on cost, unlike in past elections where lawyers from private law firms were engaged in such exercise.

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Still on lawyers, the Department of Justice and Attorney General on Friday announced the recently endorsed State Legal rates.

Annually, it costs the state around K15 million to K16 million on matters involving state institutions, including the Electoral Commission.

Secretary of the Department of Justice & Attorney General Secretary, Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, said the new fee structure will ensure that the costs are manageable.

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Sally Pokiton