Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chief magistrate denies knowledge of bail bid

CHIEF Magistrate Jack August has denied media reports that he had directed a District Court magistrate to hear and approve bail for National Planning and Monitoring secretary Joseph Lelang, The National reports.

Lelang had been charged with breaking and entering into his former office, an offence he allegedly committed days before he was reinstated.

On Monday, The National had reported that Lelang’s lawyer, Philemon Korowi, had turned up at the Port Moresby court house early last Friday morning to pursue a bail application for his client.

The lawyer’s action, however, was contrary to a direction by magistrate Rossie Johnson for all parties to be at the Waigani District Court.

Korowi had claimed that he was directed by the chief magistrate to appear before magistrate Josephine Niduwe in town and successfully posted a K1,000 bail for Lelang.

However, August yesterday denied giving such directions for the matter tobe heard in town.

He said the claims by Korowi “may amount to a serious professional misconduct” and he could be referred to the PNG Law Society.

In a media statement, August said he did not direct any magistrate to hear Lelang’s bail application last Friday.

He said Niduwe had just joined the Magisterial Services and “Lelang’s lawyer may have taken advantage of her recent appointment to push his own agenda”.

“The counsel for Lelang has misled the Waigani Committal Court. This is totally false and unbecoming of a member of the legal fraternity and may amount to a serious professional misconduct.”

August said he was officially on tour to Kimbe and left last Thursday. He returned to Port Moresby on Monday.

He said it was impossible for him to sanction a bail hearing as he was in Kimbe last Friday.



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