Is the judiciary overstepping its jurisdiction? The Damaru case.

By PNG Echo.

Damaru and Gitua - The Lone ranger and Tonto
Damaru and Gitua – The Lone ranger and Tonto

Did you know that the Court of Law has no jurisdiction to hear an Originating Summons concerning a suspension of a police officer in an administrative matter except as a Judicial Review?

In the case of Damaru’s suspension, and as far as anyone can tell, Greg Egan and other lawyers for Damaru have not filed for a Judicial Review. Indeed they would have had to have sought leave first and that hasn’t come to anyone’s attention.

So, if Egan sought declaratory orders regarding the suspension outside of a judicial review (and it looks as though he did) then the court has no jurisdiction to effect it.

It’s all to do with the separation of powers – it’s fundamental “trite law”, as one commentator put it (a principle (paradigm) of law so notorious and entrenched that it is commonly known and rarely disputed.)

But however fundamental the legal paradigm, it seems to have escaped Justice Allen David when he stayed the suspension imposed administratively By COP Baki of his officer Matthew Damaru.

And that’s not the only legal paradigm that was seriously shifted in this case.  Justice David heard the case ‘ex-parte’ …but I’m getting ahead of myself.  First things first:

Greg Egan playing 'I've got a secret"
Greg Egan playing ‘I’ve got a secret”

The Judge said that he wanted the parties to come to an agreement on the way forward, but lawyers for the State said that they couldn’t do that as QC for Damaru, Greg Egan, refused to share the court documents with them.

Really, one would think that the wise thing to do under these circumstances would have been for the Judge to have ordered that Egan disclose them so that the parties were both well-informed, enabling them to come to that agreement as to the progression of the case – but did he hell? No he didn’t.

He decided to hear the appeal, ex-parte instead.

This means that Justice David chose to hear the application without any arguments from the defence and without their presence. Why? It was totally one sided.

Now ex parte hearings sometimes become necessary when the opposing parties aren’t available, in order to expedite matters, but the parties for the state and for the police service were all there and the ex-parte route is certainly not one preferred by the courts of justice.

This notwithstanding, the Judge chose to go down (unnecessarily) the least judicially desirable path, thus denying the State and the Police natural justice – the whole thing was one-sided and opposing parties didn’t even know what was being argued.

COP Gary Baki - the courts making his job maintaining discipline tough
COP Gary Baki – the courts making his job maintaining discipline tough

One of the stronger arguments against (apart from the fact that the courts have no jurisdiction), is that to interfere with the Police Commissioner is contrary to the Supreme Court reference  – which recognised the authority of Baki (as Police Commissioner) over his men – but who cares, hey?  No one was listening.

It leaves me wondering whether the Judge is aware of the ramifications of his decision? I mean, the right of the Police Commissioner to have full operational command is fundamental to the stability of the police force – but all efforts to bring discipline into line by Baki is being thwarted – and by the PNG courts.  (Montesquieu would be turning in his grave.)

Besides, there is far too much secrecy surrounding all of this; firstly the Fraud Squad operating on high-profile cases covertly and without the knowledge of the Police Commissioner, then there’s the Fraud Squad and Sam Koim from Task Force Sweep receiving funding from an unknown, and likely inappropriate, source and now Greg Egan playing ‘I’ve got a secret’ with the approbation of a National Court judge,  It’s highly irregular and I’m wondering what they’ve got to hide, aren’t you?

Goodness, I know that sometimes the law is an ass, but this time I don’t think the law was necessarily followed, so who is the ass really…and how do you combat questionable judicial decisions and dubious protocol, because I’ve been dedicating far too much ink to it lately?

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5 thoughts on “Is the judiciary overstepping its jurisdiction? The Damaru case.

  1. Suspension is a first step in an administrative disciplinary action andvno courts disturb it. Judicial Reviewvis only available after a final decision and the aggrieved officer avails himself of the judicial review process to review the decision making process. At the suspension stage there are still Administrative processes available to the affects officers. One of the requirements of judicial review is that the aggrieved officer must exhaust all administrative avenues before going to Court. Now it is a bee trend created by Judge Allen David where any public servant who is suspended can easily run to court by passing all administrative avenues and protocols. PNG where are heading. Judges should close their hears to the public none senses in the social media and the main stream media in order to look at each case objectively. Separation of powers is no longer there. Only in PNG.

  2. You are right. The judge had no jurisdiction and not only did he know it – he overstepped his restraint as a judicial officer to meddle in the RPNGC’s administration. Allan David may not be the smartest guy on the bench but for a senior judge he must have known that he was abusing the judicial discretion. That’s a direct breach of the Leadership Code.

    Sam Koim and his renegade cops cannot afford the services of Greg Egan for one day, let alone for the over three years they’ve retained his services. Unless Koim, the cops and Egan disclosed their funding source they must be arrested for receiving bribes.

    They are also promoting sedition. They are engaged subversive acts from outside RPNGC command setup. They are obviously collaborating with sponsors who are most likely trying to over throw government. That makes their acts amount to treason as well.

  3. It is time that the judges realise that Koim and his police officer cronies are vigilantes for hire and do something about it. This could all be stopped if the judges simply heard Koim’s useless judicial review case which has now dragged on for almost two years.

  4. With all legalistic brouhaha aside, why did the CoP decide to take disciplinary action against he’s officers at this stage? What did these actions stem from that requires such hard line approach in a ‘disciplined force’? In light of the police forces attempt to revive discipline and order, how can the suspension of the anti-fraud directorate contribute towards achieving this?
    These actions go against the very nature of the police force itself.

  5. The RPNGC is being pushed past the breaking point by pot belly lunatics like Peter Oniel for his personal gain through retired, rehired retards in Gary Baki and the Buffalo

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