By PNG Echo.
Noel Anjo Kolao and Sonja Barry Ramoi have been unsuccessful in their bid to have the PNG courts disqualify lawyer, Tiffany Twivey-Nonggorr and her law firm Twivey Lawyers from representing the Prime Minister in his defamation suit against the two self-styled activists with strong links to the Opposition Leader.
Justice Kandakasi handed down the decision last Monday in an on-the-spot decision at the National Court, Waigani that saw Anjo in attendance but Ramoi absent.
Anjo and Ramoi were ordered by the court to pay the Prime Minister’s costs in the amount of K1500.
Justice Kandakasi in handing down his decision found that what was being asked of the court was, in this case, not within its jurisdiction.
The case reads not unlike that of former Treasurer Don Polye whose lawyer asked the courts to reinstate Polye into his former political position – the courts declined in that instance too – citing the same reasons.
Furthermore the Judge found the submission of lawyer, Tony Waisi to be incompetent, as the motion did not comply with the national court rules – failing to state the jurisdiction or power of the court to make the orders sought and therefore the motion would be struck out.
These were two of the arguments presented by Ms Twivey-Nonggorr and accepted by the learned judge
Moreover, Justice Kandakasi did not deem it necessary to comment on specific allegations of Anjo and Ramoi who were accusing Twivey-Nonggorr of conduct unbecoming and conflict of interest under rule 3 and rule 10 of the professional conduct code.
He did however interrupt the defence submission to inquire as to the veracity of the alleged posting on social media by Ms Twivey-Nonggorr regarding the husband of Sonja Ramoi – one Gabriel Ramoi.
“Was Mr Ramoi convicted,” he asked?
As defence lawyer Waisi could not provide the answer, Ms Twivey-Nonggorr helped out by informing the court that Mr Ramoi was indeed convicted and sentenced to imprisonment on charges relating to corruption. A copy of the said court decision was provided as an annex to her submissions.
With interlocutory motions set aside (that Justice Kandakasi branded a “waste of time”) the case should have now been poised to proceed to trial. However, in yet another example of legal ineptitude, it was discovered that Anjo and Ramoi had defaulted in filing their defence within the 35 allotted days and were already 5 days out of time.
Ms. Twivey-Nonggorr informed the court that she was prepared to consent to an extension so that they could file their defence and the case could progress (this was in spite of the fact that the prosecution was entitled to file, under the circumstances, for a default judgement.)
The Judge so ordered and the new deadline for the filing of a defence by Anjo, Ramoi and their lawyers is this Friday 6 June with the plaintiff’s reply to be filed by 13 June.
The case of the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea versus Noel Anjo Kolao and Sonja Barry Ramoi on charges of defamation will make its next appearance in the National Court of PNG on 23 July.