Friday, July 08, 2011

Sir Arnold hits out at court ruling



ATTORNEY-General and Minister for Justice Sir Arnold Amet has described the Supreme Court decision to suspend two government ministers as unethical, unjurisdictional and inappropriate, The National reports.

Sir Arnold criticised the Supreme Court decision to view the cases of Patrick Pruaitch and Arthur Somare to be the same as Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare's.

"This is unethical, unjurisdictional and inappropriate.

"The party to that case was Sir Michael and that had no­thing to do with Patrick and Arthur," he said.

He said Sir Michael had the constitutional right and was at liberty to challenge the case in court whether as the country's leader or as an ordinary citizen.

However, he said ethically, the two ministers were not given an opportunity to be heard.

He said there were three different Supreme Court decisions.

The first ruling was to suspend Pruaitch as soon as he was referred by the public prosecutor, the second was when he was granted leave to take up office while waiting for a tribunal to be set up and, the third, was when Pruaitch and Arthur were suspended.

However, he said there had been inconsistencies when a three-man Supreme Court bench over-ruled ano­ther Supreme Court ruling.

Sir Arnold said that the rulings were differently constituted and was inconsistent in the process of law.   

However, he said he was looking at the possibility of getting a higher Supreme Court review to look at the issues of inconsistencies in the ruling.

The higher Supreme Court review would have to be a five- or seven-man bench with the powers to over-rule the decisions of a three-man bench.

He said the chief justice had been asked to set up a higher court and was in the process of doing that.



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