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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has successfully obtained a stay order in the Supreme Court preventing his arrest by police pending a review of the warrant issued on him.
An urgent stay application was filed following Tuesday’s decision by National Court Justice Collin Makail’s ruling that the 2014 warrant of arrest was not reviewable.
Lawyer representing the Prime Minister, Mal Varitimos QC appealed the matter after highlighting inconsistencies in the August 8, ruling by Justice Makail.
The trial judge judicially reviewed the three-year old stay orders of the warrant of arrest and dismissed it on the grounds that the orders were not reviewable.
Varitimos submitted that among the inconsistencies, Justice Makail overlooked Supreme Court binding case references relating to the matter.
The binding references relate to former Attorney General Ano Pala’s appeal against his 2014 warrant of arrest, an order by the District Court where the Supreme Court upheld it saying it was reviewable by the National Court.
In a 2014 decision of the five-men bench of the supreme court considering the power, functions, duties and responsibilities of the Commissioner of Police, it ruled a warrant of arrest was amendable as opposed to Justice Makail’s ruling.
It considered the question of whether the Commissioner of Police had a sufficient standing to seek leave for judicial review of the decision to use the warrant of arrest that is subject to the current challenge.
The submission by Varitimos was that the binding references were erroneously over-looked as a result Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia granted the stay orders.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Gari Baki will be inviting Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for an interview in light of the recent Waigani National court decision on the matter involving the prime minister.
The Waigani national court refused to entertain an application for an extension on the stay order on the warrant of arrest for O’Neill on Tuesday.
Baki said there has been numerous comments made by people from all facets of the PNG community, both in the mainstream as well as social media, mostly asking what action the police will take and when.
“As Commissioner of Police, I welcome the decision of the court as it now paves the way for us to move forward on this matter.
“Since the Court decision I have had consultations with my senior officers on the case and as the Commissioner of Police, myself, to invite the Prime Minister to come in for an interview.
“I want the people of Papua New Guinea to appreciate that this is a very sensitive and delicate matter involving the Prime Minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.
“The interview is not a requirement by law but an existing and established protocol the constabulary has engaged over the years for leaders and high profile people,” Baki said.
He said he has been briefed on the matter by director Fraud and Anti-Corruption chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru through assistant commissioner Crimes Victor Isouve.
“In fact I am the second commissioner in office after the warrant of arrest was issued for the Prime Minister. However, neither myself, nor the previous Police Commissioner have been made privy to or have had an appreciation of the investigation.
“I will now be engaging my assistant commissioner crimes and director fraud and his team to assist me to fully appreciate the case after which I will invite the Prime Minister to come in for the interview,” Baki said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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