Trial on PM’s arrest warrant review completed

A trial into the A trial into the Judicial Review that was filed in 2014, challenging ththat was filed in 2014, challenging the legality of the controversial warrant of arrest against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was conducted today in the National Court.

The issue in the judicial review proceeding was for the National Court to review the decision of Chief Magistrate Nerrie Eliakim, who issued a warrant of arrest against the Prime Minister on June 12, 2014.

The review was filed by Geoffrey Vaki in his capacity as the then Police Commissioner on June 14, 2014.

On July 28, 2014, leave was granted by the National Court to Vaki for a judicial review to be conducted against the decision of the Chief Magistrate on June 12, 2014.

Grounds of the review are on questions of jurisdiction and errors of law in the issuing of the warrant.

Justice Collin Makail today heard submissions that mostly came from PM O’Neill’s lawyer Mal Varitimos before reserving his decision to April 28.

Lawyers representing the Police Commissioner and the state consented to submissions that were made by Varitimos.

Former Police commissioner Geoffrey Vaki and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill are the first and second plaintiffs in the review.

Chief Magistrate Eliakim and the State are the first and second respondents.

National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate bosses, Matthew Damaru and Timothy Gitua, were previously listed as the third respondents until the Supreme Court’s decision of Sept 29, 2016, which set aside their joinder in this judicial review in the National Court on Dec 7, 2015.

Varitimos told the court today that section 8 of the Arrest Act was not complied with by Damaru and Gitua, when they obtained that arrest warrant from the District Court on June 12, 2014.

It was not complied with because no information was laid to the magistrate before the warrant was issued.

He said the charge of official Corruption was a “special category” of offense that required section 8 of the Arrest Act complied with in order for any Arrest warrant to be issued by the court.


Loop PNG file picture of Prime Minister’s lawyers, Mal Varitimos and Tiffany Twivey walking out of the court precinct last year. 

Sally Pokiton