This week in court: Review

Most election petition cases that have been filed in the Court of Disputed Returns went for direction hearing this week to prepare parties for the actual hearing or trial.

Cases that had petitioners present in court indicated the number of witnesses they intend to call and were given time to collect witness statements in preparation for trial.

Among those petitions that went for direction was the one filed by runner-up in the Ialibu-Pangia Open seat, Stanley Liria.

In this petition, Papua New Guinea Defence Force, Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo, and CEO of the National Gaming Control Board, Imelda Agon, were summoned to turn up in court for the trial.


In another election petition, the paper-plane fold that was used during polling in the Namatanai Open seat by supporters of successful candidate, Walter Schnaubelt, has become a ground for an election petition, allegedly amounting to illegal practices.

Petitioner Byron Chan alleges five instances of illegal practice, four instances of bribery and two instances of errors and omission on the part of the Electoral Commission.

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This week also saw the Tribunal that was appointed to investigate senior National and Supreme Court Judge, Sir Bernard Sakora, resume.

This tribunal was later adjourned, pending the outcome of a Supreme Court reference.

Six questions have been referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation by the tribunal, which was set up by the Judicial Legal Service Commission.

The tribunal, chaired by Justice Sir Bruce Robertson on Wednesday, allowed an application by Justice Sir Bernard, referring the constitutional questions for interpretation of the Supreme Court.

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Still in the Supreme Court, a joint appeal against the conviction and sentence of businessman Justin Parker will be heard by the full court soon.

This comes after the Supreme Court allowed an application asking the court to appeal his sentence, which was handed down on August 21.

He was sentenced last month to 13 years over the murder of Lapan Nason in 2015.

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And finally, the National Court on Friday reinstated suspended Secretary for the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Mary Morola.

The court quashed her suspension from office in the judicial review case she filed against the NEC, the state and acting secretary George Bopi.

She was reinstated after the court found that proper process was not followed leading up to her suspension and George Bopi, the Chief of Staff to the Office of the Prime Minister, who was appointed to act in the position, was not eligible for appointment because he was not from within the department.

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Sally Pokiton