Tkatchenko asks court to dismiss petition

Trial has commenced at the Waigani National Court over the election of Justin Tkatchenko as Moresby-South MP.

This is the first seat that was declared out of the four in the nation’s capital and now the first to go for trial in the Court of Disputed Returns before Justice David Cannings.

Petitioner Samson Kirilyo is challenging Tkatchenko’s election based on the scrutiny process of the Electoral Commission.

The trial commenced with the hearing of two applications, or objections, challenging the competency of the petition.

Tkatchenko’s objection was based on a requirement in the actual filing of the petition.

He said the petition should be dismissed because it failed to comply with section 208 (e) of the Election Petition Rules 2017, where the petition must provide addresses of two witnesses it will call in the trial.

The Electoral Commission’s objection is also based on the issue of witnesses' address.   

The commission also claims that the petition failed to outline the material facts and that the allegations were too brief.

Petitioner Kirilyo’s lawyer asked the court to not look at the technicalities in the manner in which it was filed, but to look at the petition in totality. 

He claims 64 of the 96 boxes were not counted in the presence of scrutineers at the Kilakila Secondary School hall.

He also claims that the Returning Officer was a serving member of the PNG Defence Force and should not have been appointed to oversee the election.

Justice Cannings will give his ruling tomorrow on the two objections. 



Sally Pokiton