Friday, December 03, 2010

Prime Minister: Case still before court

PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare said yesterday that the court challenge on his referral by the Ombudsman Commission remains on foot in the National and Supreme Court, The National reports.

He said what was dismissed by the Supreme Court was an interlocutory appeal regarding a summons to produce his lawyers had asked for to adduce certain documents from the Ombudsman Commission.

He was disappointed with the front page article of the Post-Courier headlined “PM appeal annulled” yesterday.

“The truth is that my real substantive case is still pending in the National Court and the dismissal of this completely separate interlocutory appeal does not affect my substantive case,” Sir Michael said in a statement issued yesterday.

“The Post-Courier reporter had full knowledge of this as explained by my lawyers, PKA. The reporter still went ahead in today’s paper (yesterday) to tell a half truth and continued on to draw his own misleading conclusion.

“PKA informed me this morning that the reporter’s reaction to his explanation that the dismissal bears no consequence to the substantive case against me was basically it did not matter as ‘this is the prime minister’ and he had a paper to sell.

“My lawyer informed me that he also warned the reporter not to mislead the public but the reporter had his mind set on the sale of the paper.

“This callous behaviour is deplorable.

“Whether it is the prime minister or any other citizen of this country, the media should not be allowed to manipulate information at the expense of others for their market share.”

“I condemn the actions of the Post-Courier in the strongest possible manner.

“We have to be mindful of the consequences of tolerating such unethical behaviour. Our complacency allows indecency to creep into our daily life as a nation,” Sir Michael said.

The prime minister’s challenge remains on foot in the National Court, while his lawyers have also filed a Supreme Court reference to clarify certain issues that were raised.

While these proceedings are pending, the Public Prosecutor is restrained from making any referral.

The Prime Minister’s referral by the Ombudsman Commission relates to his annual returns.

The commission alleges that he has filed them late, or that what he has filed were misleading.

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