Friday, December 09, 2011

O’Neill seeks last-minute reprieve


PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill will know today whether he was elected legally to office on Aug 2, The National reports.
The full-bench Supreme Court will make a ruling on that at 9.30am at the Waigani Court House.
But, before this (at 9am), the Supreme Court will hear and rule on a late application yesterday by O’Neill’s lawyer Philip Ame to disqualify Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia from the Supreme Court bench ruling on the East Sepik provincial executive reference.
Parliament is also scheduled to meet this morning, but whether it resumes normally at 10am will depend on how long it
takes to dispose of the two respective court cases.
While NCD police will be out in full force to ensure criminal elements do not take advantage of the situation, many employers have advised their workers to stay home today in case of trouble.
This morning’s Supreme Court impending ruling is on the legality of O’Neill’s election which was questioned by the East Sepik provincial government.
Should this morning’s Supreme Court declares O’Neill’s election as prime minister illegal, Speaker Jeffery Nape faces court proceedings filed by Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare on Wednesday at both the National and Supreme courts.
The latter proceedings aimed to cite Nape with actions of breaches of various sections of the Constitution (filed at the National Court) and also being in contempt of the proceedings of the Supreme Court respectively.
These details would be argued before the court of law.
Court registrar Ian Augerea confirmed late yesterday the O’Neill bid to remove Sir Salamo as head of the bench for the East Sepik application, citing a conflict-of-interest situation arising from an alleged meeting at a hotel in Port Moresby early last month.
Affidavits from three witnesses were also filed along with O’Neill’s application.
The Supreme Court bench for today’s decision comprises the chief justice, his deputy Gibbs Salika and senior justices Bernard Sakora, Nicholas
Kirriwom and Les Gavara-Nanu.
The East Sepik provincial executive council’s special reference is seeking an interpretation on the constitutionality of the Aug 2 declaration that there was a vacancy in the prime minister’s position and the subsequent formation of a new government.
It also wanted a ruling on whether the parliamentary process used was legal

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