Monday, November 14, 2011

Lawyers to seek stay on ‘arrest’ orders


LAWYERS for acting Prime Minister Belden Namah and Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat will today apply to a three-man Supreme Court bench to set aside orders for their arrest and detention on contempt charges, The National reports.
The Supreme Court’s interim order issued last Thursday by Justice Bernard Sakora for their immediate arrest and detention until Dec 12 for contempt of court has not been acted on yet.
The National and Supreme Court registry yesterday confirmed that Namah and Marat’s lawyers, Young and Williams Lawyers, had filed documents yesterday morning, seeking to set aside the warrant for their arrest.
Registry officials confirmed that the lawyers had sought an immediate hearing by a single Supreme Court bench to set aside the orders for their arrest and detention.
But, because of the unavailability of judges for the hearing, the matter was set for hearing today before a three-bench Supreme Court.
Police spokesman Supt Dominic Kakas said Namah and Marat would hand themselves over to police “in the coming day”.
He was quoted by the Australian Nine News network as saying: “Both parties have reached an understanding. I can say it will happen in the coming days.”
Last Friday, police issued a brief statement confirming receipt of the interim court orders with the warrant to arrest the two political leaders.
That same day, Namah and Marat reportedly flew to East and West New Britain provinces for official engagements.
Marat told The National by phone at about 1pm last Friday that he was attending a school classroom opening ceremony on Matupit Island, East New Britain.
The attorney-general confirmed that he was aware of the warrant for his arrest but he was already in Rabaul,
conducting pre-arranged “normal official business”.
He said he flew out at about 6am to Kokopo’s Tokua Airport.
The National was told last Friday that Namah was supposed to fly out at about the same time to Kimbe but, because of delays, he left for West New Britain at about 10am on a charted Air Niugini flight accompanied by a number of policemen as bodyguards.
The National reporter Jeffrey Elapa, who was invited to be on that flight to cover the events they were travelling for, was at the airport.
Elapa said due to the unavailability of space on the flight, because of the number of policemen accompanying Namah and his officials, he was told at the last minute he could not travel with them.
The Supreme Court’s orders last Thursday were that, until further orders of the court:
  • Pending formal charges of contempt being laid by the registrar of the Supreme Court against Belden Namah and Dr Allan Marat, that they both be arrested and detained by the police forthwith and produced to the court on Monday, Dec 12, at 9.30am;
  • The registrar of the Supreme Court shall file and serve the charges on the two alleged contemptors – Namah and Marat – within seven days, such charges to be made returnable on Monday, Dec 12 at 9.30am;
  • The said decisions of the National Executive Council are hereby stayed and that the NEC, by its servants and agents whosoever including Namah and Marat, are restrained from implementing the said decisions; and
  • The registrar shall file an affidavit of service and execution of these orders forthwith.
The orders stemmed from the Supreme Court’s content of the order stating that the NEC decision and actions “amount to contempt of the Supreme Court” of the pending SC Ref 3 of 2011, which concluded on Friday, Oct 28, and its decision is scheduled for Dec 9.

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