By PNG Echo.
Chief Magistrate, Ms. Nerrie Eliakim, yesterday (July 4, 2014), dismissed an application from police to set aside an arrest warrant for the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, in the Committal Court, Waigani.
The decision of Ms Eliakim who is believed to be close to former Justice Minister and Attorney General, Kerenga Kua, will seriously undermine the authority of the newly-appointed Police Commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki and police powers.
Stated under S197 (2) of the Constitution is that the functions of the police are not only to lay and prosecute charges but also withdraw them
As it now stands, the Police Commissioner has lost his authority.
How can a police force operate effectively while subordinates are being encouraged by the courts to ignore directives from their Commissioner, who wants the arrest warrant withdrawn?
Under the circumstances, it is to be expected that the Police Commissioner will appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, in the Supreme Court, lawyers for the Prime Minister have lodged an urgent appeal against the decision of the National Court whereby the Prime Minister’s application for a stay of the arrest warrant was also dismissed.
The decision being appealed was contraindicated when all parties agreed to the stay – the court didn’t.
However, in handing down the decision Judge Kariko also affirmed the Police Commissioner’s authority over the police force – which Magistrate Eliakim’s subsequent ruling in a lower court has undermined.
The Supreme Court has adjourned the PMs appeal until the end of next week while Ms Eliakim’s written decision will be made available on Monday 7 July…and look out for the anticipated appeal of the Police Commissioner who seems in no hurry to arrest the Prime Minister.
In the meantime the police force must be in complete disarray with no one knowing from whom they take orders.