By PNG Echo
In the Waigani Courts, yesterday, (Tuesday, 3 March 2016) a date was set for the substantive hearing into the disbanding of Task Force Sweep, but not before lawyers for the Prime Minister filed two motions against the Task Force Sweep (TFS) Chairman Sam Koim.
Both motions arose out of the alleged contempt committed by Koim when he breached a 2014 court order by extensively publishing subjudice material. The 2014 court order restrained Koim from discussing the TFS case in any media forum.
The Prime Minister’s first motion asked that the whole proceedings be summarily dismissed due to Koim’s breach of the court orders, while the other was a Notice of Motion charging Koim with contempt and asking that he be found guilty and punished by imprisonment.
Koim is alleged to have used both social and mainstream media to commit his contempt – including holding a press conference, televised on EMTV (later linked to youtube) where he handed out written statements. Koim also paid to have published a full-page advertisement in The National newspaper discussing and disseminating information about Task Force Sweep as well as publishing in social media in direct contravention of the court order.
Lawyers for the Prime Minister said that the decision to push ahead with the charges (after an earlier ruling that disallowed their ‘show cause’ motion as technically incompetent) was predicated on the failure of Koim to purge his contempt by continuing to publish, on Facebook and Twitter, in breach of the order, after 19 December when the Prime Minister first raised the allegations.
The hearing for the motions was set down for 10 March – with the substantive hearing adjourned until next month (April 13) – these dates were set by the judge in spite of, and in contradiction of, his earlier ruling (same proceedings), denying the same request from Counsel for the Prime Minister.