Sunday, July 31, 2011

Musings: vexatious litigation and Al Capone


Vexatious litigation = Legal action which is brought, regardless of its merits, solely to harass or subdue an adversary


DURING THE LIFE of this current Papua New Guinea parliament, a number of high profile leaders have been referred to the Leadership Tribunal by the Ombudsman Commission.

Continual legal argument has, however, delayed the courts from determining an outcome on many occasions.
Often it seems like there is a never-ending stream of legal obstacles raised by highly paid lawyers that continually delay proceedings.
In the case put to the Leadership Tribunal about prime minister Somare, the facts were eventually revealed in court and the case proven.
However, could the subsequent findings in the prime minister's case give rise to speculation that all previous legal action to defer, delay or overturn the Ombudsman's referral seemed rather pointless.
It would have been unlikely that the Ombudsman Commission would have referred the case to the public prosecutor had the facts not already been established.
Further speculation might arise that a similar situation exists with other cases of the same nature currently continually being deferred on various legal grounds.
There could be questions asked about who pays for the high priced legal expertise initiating the blocking action aimed at delaying, deferring or dismissing the referrals. Where has the funding for this legal assistance come from? Surely, the PNG taxpayers haven't funding such personal and private legal defence.
On a totally different subject, it is interesting to note in the US in the 1930's that the only way Special Investigator Elliot Ness was finally able to 'nail' big time criminal Al Capone was to charge him with tax evasion.
Capone's other criminal activities proved impossible to pin down.
Ness and his small team realised that, until they were able to remove Capone's official protection, they would never be able to gain a conviction. So they first reduced his source of income by shutting down illicit alcohol production.
With Capone's alcohol production waning, Capone had no money to pay the government people who protected him from being convicted. By removing this source of revenue, Ness decided to go after Capone's Achilles heel and Capone's empire collapsed

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