Sunday, December 11, 2011

Decision tomorrow!


THE Supreme Court ruling on the East Sepik provincial executive council special reference case on the legality of the O’Neill-Namah government has been deferred to tomorrow.
The exact timing of when it will be handed down tomorrow depends on the scheduled hearing on the contempt of court charges filed by the National and Supreme Court registrar against deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah and Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat over their sacking of the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia.
The first case to be dealt with however is the application by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to have Sir Salamo disqualified from presiding over the East Sepik reference case because of an allegation of “bias”. 
The Supreme Court will make a ruling on that first. 
O’Neill is being represented by lawyer Philip Ame.
Ame’s submission last Friday effectively forced the postponement of the ruling by five-judge bench on the East Sepik reference. 
He based his argument are on three affidavits by two Southern Highlands men and one from Lufa who claimed they saw Sir Salamo in the company of Angoram MP Arthur Somare at the Ela Beach Hotel at 2am on Nov 4.
Because of this allegation, Ame submitted there was a possible apprehension of bias or bias.
Ame’s submission was questioned by the bench.
Sir Salamo asked what was the exact time they were seen. Ame said: “2” .
CJ: “Is that in the night or day?” Ame: “2 am”
CJ: “Where were they”? Ame: “They were coming out of the pokies”.
CJ: “Is there evidence that I was coming out of the pokies?”
It drew laughter from the court.
Justice Kirriwom asked Ame: “Do you expect the CJ to be hanging around in places such as the pokies to such a late time as that?”
He also questioned the credibility of persons who hung out at such places at such a late hour.
He was also asked if  he really thought the CJ would have chosen to be hanging out at such a late hour as that.
Lawyers representing the interveners, including the referrer, told the court O’Neill’s application should be dismissed.
Peter Kuman for Wabag MP Sam Abal requested the court to issue a warrant of arrest for the three men and that they should be charged with perjury or giving false statements in their affidavits.
Kuman also said the three should be cited for contempt of court and for Ame to be referred to the lawyers’ authorities.
Lawyer Ian Molly for the referrer told the court that the document had errors.
One was that Ame had introduced himself in court as the lawyer for O’Neill yet the filed document he was making submissions on, showed that it was for the NEC.
He also pointed out that the three male witnesses had such similar wording in their affidavit that it bought into question their statement’s credibility.
Ame said he had had typed out the three witnesses’ affidavits in November but only got instructions in the past few days to file them.
The CJ said last Friday he “is ready, willing and able to hand down his ruling on the Reference together with members of the bench”.

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