By PNG Echo
Attorney General, Ano Pala, has today had the warrant of arrest, extant since July 2014, quashed by a unanimous three-man bench of the Supreme Court – consisting of Justices Higgins, Sawong and Batari.
The warrant had been sworn out by Magistrate Cosmas Bidar at the behest of Police Officer, Matthew Damaru.
The charge leveled was ‘defeating the course of justice’ in conspiracy with others including the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Geoffrey Vaki and their respective counsels notwithstanding that most of these people were not a party to the proceedings at the time. The quashing of the arrest warrant means that the conspiracy charges are also not recognised.
Pala’s alleged sin, in the eyes of Detective Chief Superintendent Damaru, was to apply for the State to be joined to a matter wherein the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister had filed proceedings to legitimize (or not) bills paid by the state to Paul Paraka Lawyers by way of a declaration of taxation.
This is a most important question because if the Paraka bills are legitimate then no offence has been committed.
It is a way of getting to the truth – proof of a crime should be at the very beginning of an investigation (clearly no one has told this to Task-Force Sweep or the Fraud Squad.)
The truth is something that Police Officer, Matthew Damaru patently did not want to get in the way of a good witch hunt
I mean, how could trying to ascertain the truth be an attempt to defeat the course of justice?
Indeed, the three learned judges ascertained that Pala’s filing of proceedings
…is an act incapable of being a criminal act.
Further, they emphasized their ruling was timely (and lucky for some) as had Pala been arrested and denied his liberty, he would have had ample cause for redress.
With this decision, the Supreme Court overruled the previous decision of Justice Colin Makail in the National Court that dismissed Pala’s petition saying he had no standing to bring proceedings until after he was arrested.
Think about it: what’s the point of trying to quash an arrest warrant after its already been effected? But that’s what Justice Makail, in his wisdom decided – yes it baffles me too.
But it was not only that the charges were specious that caught the attention of the learned Judges but also the manner in which the arrest warrant was effected.
The faulty warrant
The Judges maintained that
…the warrant ha[d] received such little attention that the learned magistrate [Bidar] did not even choose whether the subject was “him or “her”.
The judgment went on:
It does not appear that any grounds were suggested to the magistrate… [although] …[t]he need to consider alternative grounds is mandatory.
Yet, even had the magistrate considered the grounds (which the bench found he hadn’t) apparently ”
None of the grounds for considering arrest referred to…could reasonably have been believed to justify the arrest of the applicant.
And so the witch hunt continues.
This is the second ruling this week that has found that the actions of the Fraud Squad have been cavalier.
For two years the Attorney General has had this charge hanging over his head – just because he lawfully sought the truth.
And then there’s the Deputy Secretary of Treasury, Mr Aloysius Hamou – described by all his work colleagues as a true and faithful public servant – who was sacrificed to the zealotry of these rogue elements in the Police Force who have become a law unto themselves.
He was also exonerated, found to be only doing his job in the purchase of the Israeli turbines matter – in fact, had he not obeyed the lawful directive from the NEC he would have been up on disciplinary charges.
I’m told Mr Hamou doesn’t enjoy the best of health, this episode, for an honest, fine and upstanding man, such as he, must have added a considerable amount of stress to his life, not to mention the loss of reputation.
When is someone going to stop these people?