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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape can now breath a sigh of release and focus on key national issues following a court’s ruling last Friday that dismissed an application filed by opposition leader Belden Namah that questioned his election to the top post last May.
A Waigani Supreme Court bench that comprised Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi and judges David Cannings, and Jeffery Sheppard, on Friday dismissed Namah’s application on grounds that he (Namah), through his lawyer Greg Sheppard used an incorrect file reference, where the application was incorrectly titled as ‘reference’, when it should have been titled ‘application’.
Four grounds of objections to Namah’s application were raised by Prime Minister Marape, and his deputy, and Attorney-General Davis Steven, through their lawyers McRonald Nale and Nemo Yalo.
Their objections stated that the applicant (Namah), lacked capacity to commence the proceedings as opposition leader; the applicant amended the application without leave of the court; Namah’s application failed to state how each provision of constitutional laws he was requesting to be interpreted; and that the application used an incorrect file reference. Three grounds where dismissed except that of which Namah used an incorrect file reference and that the application was incorrectly entitled as reference, and therefore non-compliant with Order 4, Rule 1, and Form 1 of the Supreme Court Rules.
Justice Cannings who handed down the decision on behalf of the bench said: “Constitutional references can only be made under section 18(2) or section 19 of the Constitution. We consider that two respects in which the application and the amended application depart from the rules are serious defects.”
Justice Cannings was referring to Namah’s application which proceeded as a reference raising constitutional questions, rather than an application under section 18(1) of the Constitution which states the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to the exclusion of other courts, as to questions relating to the interpretation or application of any provision of a constitutional law.
“The defects in the original application, repeated in the amended application, are material errors, which have created confusion at the outset of the jurisdiction of the court,” he said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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