By EOIN BLACKWELL of AAP
PAPUA New Guinea's Police Commissioner has been charged with contempt of court.
Tom Kulunga, who was appointed police commissioner by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, was charged with six counts of contempt by a five-man Supreme Court bench for failing to carry out a series of court orders in a timely manner.
Those orders included the arrest last November of Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah and Attorney General Dr Allan Marat on contempt charges after they tried to suspend the chief justice.
Mr Namah and Dr Marat were in East New Britain province at the time and it took police three days to arrest them.Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia briefly adjourned the matter today, ordering that an armed police presence be removed from the court grounds.
Mr Kulunga's lawyer argued that there had been a death threat against the commissioner but Sir Salamo ordered them to come no closer that 500m from the court.
Sitting in the dock with his arms crossed and saying very little during the proceedings, commissioner Kulunga was charged along with his assistant commissioner Simon Kauba and Superintendent David Manning.
The trio were released on 2,500 kina bail to appear again on May 7.
The latest courtroom appearance is part of an ongoing thrust and parry between PNG's judiciary and the executive arms of government.
Mr O'Neill and his team have tried repeatedly to have Sir Salamo removed from office and passed laws in parliament on Wednesday aimed at doing just that.
Former chief justice and attorney general Sir Arnold Amet has added his voice to those condemning the law.
"There are many reasons why this scandalous, mischievous, draconian and indeed 'corrupt' piece of legislation cannot be allowed to stand," he said.
"As a former chief justice and attorney general on behalf of all law-abiding citizens of PNG, I call on all our international partners to denounce this most reprehensible decision in the strongest possible terms.
"I also now call on all the commonwealth law societies, judicial conferences of the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the European Union and other democracies to express their support to this call to denounce this most corrupt decision by this parliament