Court asked to refuse bid in Sir Bernard case

National

A lawyer representing a senior judge has asked the Waigani National Court to refuse leave to two police officers seeking to judicially review a court decision which dismissed a criminal charge against his client.
Lawyer Loani Henao, representing Justice Sir Bernard Sakora, told the Waigani National Court yesterday that Inspector Joel Simatab and Chief Supt Mathew Damaru from the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, had no standing to file the judicial review case to review the decision of magistrate John Kaumi at the Waigani Committal Court on June 7 last year which dismissed a charge of judicial corruption against Sir Bernard.
Henao submitted that the magistrate in the lower court was satisfied with two issues which he correctly considered and dismissed the charge against Sir Bernard.
He said these issues were that Simatab and Damaru, including their informants, had acted without a direction from the Public Prosecutor when they prosecuted Sir Bernard, and that the district court lacked jurisdiction to deal with the matter further because there was no direction from the Public Prosecutor authorising the prosecution.
He submitted that Simatab and Damaru have no arguable case because, among other reasons, the Public Prosecutor did not give a direction for the prosecution of Sir Bernard as required under Section 119(5) of the Criminal Code Act.
The act basically states that the prosecution of judicial office holders would proceed following a direction from the Public Prosecutor.
He also submitted that Simatab and Damaru have not exhausted the administrative remedies before seeking judicial review.
He said it was still open for Simatab and Damaru to consult the Public Prosecutor and produce what they had investigated and seek his direction.
Damaru, appearing in person, told the court that as police officers they have constitutional powers to arrest and charge any person who was about to commit an offence or has committed an offence.
He said there was no administrative remedy available to them to resolve their grievance which
caused them to file the judicial review case.
He submitted that he had written to the Public Prosecutor for his direction immediately after the arrest of Sir Bernard but the Public Prosecutor refused to give a direction.
Justice Leka Nablu is expected to give the court’s decision on June 1.

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