Marape arrest stayed: Supreme Court backs Vaki.

By PNG Echo.

Supreme Court, Waigani, 30 July 2014:

Hon James Marape - his Supreme Court appeal granted
Hon James Marape – his Supreme Court appeal granted

Justice, David, Hartshorn and Sawong were today unanimous in their decision to grant Finance Minister, James Marape an interim injunction restraining his arrest by any member of the RPNGC.

The outcome was not unexpected as all four responding parties, Prime Minister, Paul Paraka, RPNGC and Independent State of PNG consented to the appeal of Finance Minister Marape for the interim injunction.

However, what was not widely foreshadowed was how strongly the divisions apparent within the ranks of the police force affected the outcome of the appeal (that in different circumstances may have been decided otherwise, according to the decision) and how the Judges, in their summation, tacitly endorsed and supported the leadership of the new Police Commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki.

We have […] heard submissions from counsel for the applicant, the Royal Constabulary, the Prime Minister and the State, which to say the least, are disturbing, distressing and saddening,

they wrote.

They went on to mention their specific concerns which included: the assault of lawyer acting for the Acting Police Commissioner (Sam Bonner) “in the precincts of this court,” the two charges brought against the Acting Police Commissioner by other police and the situation whereby the orders issued by the Acting Police Commissioner to members of the RPNGC had been ignored.

Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki, granted time needed to restore the integrity of RPNGC
Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki, granted time needed to restore the integrity of RPNGC

All this “…had created animosity and division amongst members of the police force,” the court stated, and it was agreed that the Acting Police Commissioner needed time to restore the integrity and reputation of his office and also the RPNGC generally.

It was in this context, that the court decided it had no confidence that any arrest of the Finance Minister, carried out while the RPNGC was in such a state, would be in accordance with the law and not motivated by “improper reasons” of one or more RPNGC members.

“No citizen of this country, regardless of any position that he may hold, should have to live in fear of such treatment from a supposedly disciplined force,” was the court’s final point before granting Marape’s application.

Share Button

Courts court confusion: PMs arrest warrant.

By PNG Echo.

Chief Magistrate Ms. Nerrie Eliakim - dismissed the application
Chief Magistrate Ms. Nerrie Eliakim – dismissed the application

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.

Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki,  will he appeal the decision?
Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki, will he appeal the decision?

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.

Share Button