Justice Sir Bernard Sakora

Tribunal on Sakora dissolved

This was established today by Tribunal Chairman, Justice Bruce Robertson, following Sir Bernard’s resignation that was announced last Friday by Attorney General Chairman of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, Davis Steven.

Steven said the resignation of Justice Sakora effectively terminates formal investigations into allegations of misconduct against him as initiated by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission and a separate Leadership Code investigation process instigated by the Ombudsman Commission.

Sakora allowed to deliver decisions

The Attorney General, as chairman of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission last year, issued a public statement regarding Justice Sakora’s suspension.

“He is still currently under suspension pending a hearing of a constitutional case in the Supreme Court that has risen out of the referral (to the tribunal),” says Sir Salamo.

“As soon as the constitutional case is disposed of, depending on the outcome of the case, his suspension will be determined.

Sakora case: State given time to file appearance

The six constitutional questions were referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation last month to query the manner in which the Judicial Legal Service Commission appointed a tribunal, chaired by Justice Sir Bruce Robertson, to investigate if there are grounds to remove Justice Sir Bernard Sakora from his office.

The matter came for directions hearing where the Supreme Court gave the Tribunal and the state until November 3 to file notice of their appearance.

Only the Judicial Legal Service Commission is being represented in this reference.

​Sakora case: Constitutional questions referred for interpretation

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

His lawyer, Loani Henao, told the tribunal yesterday that the six questions query the tribunal’s appointment and the process used to appoint it.

He asked for the jurisdictional basis of the tribunal to be dealt with by the Supreme Court, before the tribunal can investigate further. 

Tribunal against judge adjourned

 The adjournment was allowed after Sir Bernard’s lawyer, Loani Henao, informed the tribunal he had no materials before him to assist the tribunal.

He said he is yet to formally receive a reference or any charge laid against Sir Bernard despite chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sir Bruce Robertson, saying he was notified by the Judicial and Legal service Commission in the second week of August.

Henao asked for a three week adjournment as he did not receive a formal notice of the tribunal and did not know what was before the tribunal.

Judge Tribunal to commence

The Judicial and Legal Services Commission, announced that the Tribunal has been set up to investigate and report to the JLSC, if Justice Sir Bernard Sakora should be removed from the Office of a Judge.

The subject matter of investigation is delayed judgments in cases heard and reserved for decisions.

The decision to appoint the Tribunal was made by the JLSC under the chairmanship of the outgoing Attorney General Mr Ano Pala and could not be effected before he left office.

​Judge files appeal in Supreme Court

Sir Bernard’s lawyer, Loani Henao, filed an appeal in the Supreme Court on Monday to challenge a National Court decision that was made on June 1 by Justice Leka Nablu.

The appeal was filed with an application to stay the decision of June 1.

The National Court on June 1 granted leave to Inspector Joel Simatab and Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru to review a decision made by Magistrate John Kaumi, at the Waigani Committal Court last year, that dismissed a charge of judicial corruption laid against Sir Bernard.

There are six grounds in the appeal.

Court to review Justice Sakora’s case dismissal

Justice Leka Nablu today granted leave to an application that was moved by Director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, Matthew Damaru, on May 18, asking the court to review that decision of Magistrate John Kaumi.

Magistrate Kaumi dismissed the case and the information that was laid against Sir Bernard.

The Committal Court’s view was that it does not have jurisdiction to prosecute or commence a criminal proceeding against Sir Bernard, who occupies a judicial office because certain laws were not complied with.

Damaru asks court to review case dismissal

Damaru represented himself before Justice Leka Nablu where he asked the court to grant leave or allow a judicial review to take place.

The case was filed by Damaru and Inspector Joel Simatab, as police investigating officers challenging the Waigani Committal Court's decision on 7 June, 2016 to dismiss the case against Justice Sir Bernard Sakora, who was then facing allegations of judicial corruption.

Justice Nablu heard the motion and reserved her decision to June 1.

Court refuses Judge’s motion

The National Court’s Judicial Review track dismissed Sir Bernard’s motion this week because it was of the view that he filed the motion under the wrong provision of the National Court rules.

On June 7,2016, the Waigani Committal Court dismissed a case against Justice Sir Bernard Sakora on the charge of judicial corruption.

Chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru and Inspector Joel Simatab from the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate on June 30 last year filed a judicial review in the National Court against that decision.