By PNG Echo
When Judge Kirriwom today referred lawyer Tiffany Twivey to the Law Society for perverting the course of justice he did so on the premise that she had “…signed consent judgment setting aside the warrant of the arrest of Dairi Vele without notifying Detective Chief Inspector Gitua…” (page 30 – Judgment SCM No 87 of 2014).
This is not what she’d done.
Ms Twivey, in fact, signed on 29 July, in the District Court, a consent order for an adjournment that had been requested by the Commissioner of Police (as the warrant was short served).
At the same time she applied for an order staying the execution of the warrant for arrest on the Secretary of the Treasury, Dairi Vele, until the Inter Partes hearing that was set for 25th August. This merely served to maintain the status quo until then.
The fact that there had been a change of name from the original matter – one that had replaced Gitua with the Royal PNG Constabulary, the Judge saw as sinister – because removing Gitua as a party to the proceedings had kept him in the dark.
Well maybe – but not for long.
For on July 30, the day after the granting of the adjournment, Detective Chief Inspector Gitua was served with notice by Twivey – not of the setting aside of the warrant (as stated by Kirriwom) but of the adjournment and the temporary staying of the arrest warrant until August 25.
In his affidavit of 7 August, Chief Superintendent Damaru, indicated in paragraph 7, that he understood the stay order was a temporary measure leading up to the hearing on 25 August – however, the learned Judge seems to have believed (as stated – see first paragraph) that the warrant had been ‘set aside’ – suggesting something far more permanent.
Today (August 25) notwithstanding the ample notice, neither Gitua nor Damaru were present when the requested adjournment was granted (until 22 September). The adjournment was sought and granted due to the replacement of Sam Bonner as the counsel for the Commissioner of Police (with Nicholas Tame) giving time for the Police Commissioner to brief his new lawyers.
The adjournment gives Gitua another opportunity to present himself and his case to this hearing should he care to.
It must be noted that in all of these proceedings, the Police Commissioner has not indicated whether he will consent (or not) to the application made to stay the arrest warrant of Vele.
Under the circumstances, the criticism from the bench that: “He [the Commissioner of Police] has no qualms …in collaborating and cooperating with …Marape and Prime Minister O’Neill,” seems to be a trifle unfair.
Besides, this judgment completely ignores the Supreme Court Reference, five-man bench decision that says the Police Commissioner has the right to withdraw any warrant of arrest or the right to direct any officer to withdraw a warrant of arrest.
It is an option, that the Commissioner of Police; he who is accused of collaborating and cooperating with the Prime Minister and Finance Minister; has not even exercised.
Twivey was, in this matter, acting on behalf of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in the case against police officers Gitua and Damaru and their right to hire private lawyers. Sam Bonner, former counsel to the Commissioner of Police was also referred to the Law Society on the same matter.
Parties are appealing the decision.