Supreme Court

Court summons convicts

On May 31, 2022, the Supreme Court in its interpretation of Section 103 (3) (e) of the Constitution, settled the legal position that a person cannot contest the National General Elections and be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he/she is convicted of an indictable offence that carries a sentence of imprisonment for more than 9 months, effective from June 25 2002.

The only two exceptions to this interpretation are unless the conviction and sentence has been quashed by the Supreme Court or the convicted person has been pardoned under section 151 of the Constitution.

EC Told To Comply With Court Orders

He said following the decision, the Attorney General has written to Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai advising him of this decision.

The Electoral Commissioner however is yet to make a statement on this landmark ruling and the steps EC has in place to carry out these orders.

“It is only proper for EC to comply with the orders to avoid being in contempt with the law”, he added.

The Solicitor General further explained that the EC must undertake due diligence and put in place a screening process for every candidate who nominates to contest elections.

Court stays Parliament sitting

This means there will be no Parliament sitting tomorrow, December 1st, and on April 20th 2021, until the court hears substantive proceedings then can make its ruling.

In handing down the decision late this afternoon,  after nearly six hours of court hearing, Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika said the five man bench, has considered all the arguments presented before the court, before arriving at this decision.

Court yet to hear case of Nov 17 sitting

Interested parties who applied to take part in the proceedings as interveners include; Prime Minister James Marape, Treasurer, Ian Lingstuckey, leader of government business, Renbo Paita, Clerk of Parliament and Paul Paraka as a private citizen.

Ruling on whether to grant these applications will be heard at 12:30pm today, after it was adjourned by the five men bench.

Opposition leader, Belden Namah has also shown interest in the proceedings.

The court is expected to hear his application at 12:30 when it resumes.

Speaker's Pandemic Act challenge dismissed

The Speaker of Parliament Job Pomat in his application stated that under Section 110 (1) of the Constitution, the Speaker is obliged to certify under the National Seal in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Parliament that a law has been made by Parliament.

Pomat argued that under the Standing Order 221 of the Parliament, ‘every act made by the Parliament shall be presented to the Speaker for certification under the National Seal, having been first certified by the signature of the Clerk as having been passed by the Parliament.

Namah challenges National Pandemic Act 2020 in court

Young and Williams Lawyers, Counsel for Namah, lodged the Supreme Court Application (SCC OS/4/2020) at 9.36am on Wednesday.

Namah in a statement said the Opposition has applied to have the Act struck down as unconstitutional under Section 41 of the Constitution by the Supreme Court.

He clarified that they have find the National Pandemic Act to be contrary to the Constitution for the following reasons:-

PM’s election remains Supreme Court matter

Namah, in his capacity as the Opposition leader, had sought court declaration over the legality of Marape’s election on May 30, 2019.

Prime Minister Marape’s election to the government’s top post remains a Supreme Court matter after a five-man bench dismissed his application to stop Namah from disputing his election as Prime Minister.

Interested parties told to file joinder application

This is the reference Namah filed on September 23, seeking an interpretation over the legality of James Marape's election as Prime Minister on May 30th, 2019.

Lawyers representing the referrer (Namah) and those of other interested parties; The Speaker of parliament, Attorney General, Deputy Opposition Leader and Prime Minister James Marape, appeared in court for directions today.

Atoni Jeneral rausim oda bilong stopim mosen

Loya bilong Manase, John Griffin, i bin kisim bek dispela aplikesen aster long taim tripela Suprim Kot jas, Jastis Derek Hartshorn, Collin Makail, na Oagile Bethuel Dingake i sindaun long harim.

Long Me 15 Manase i bin redim wanpela Aplikesen long stopim Palamen na Praivet Bisnis Komiti long harim wanpela notis bilong mosen bilong vot i no gat bilip (VONCM) we Oposisen i bin kamapim long Me 7.  

Tasol Lida bilong Oposisen, Patrick Pruaitch i bin rausim pinis VONCM long Mande Me 20, wantaim James  Marape, man husat ol i redim long kisim sia bilong Praim MInista.

AG withdraws stay application

The application was withdrawn on Wednesday May 22nd by Manase’s lawyer, John Griffin QC, before a three men bench consisting of Justice Derek Hartshorn, Collin Makail, and Oagile Bethuel Dingake.

The stay application to restrain Parliament and the Private Business Committee from entertaining or dealing with the notice of a motion for a vote of no confidence was filed by Manase on May 15th in relation to the VONCM filed by the Opposition on May 7th.