Court to rule on MP’s case

National

A decision is expected today in the court of disputed returns regarding the service of the notice of a petition filed against Kerema MP Richard Mendani that was published in a newspaper.
Mendani has disputed the service of his election petition, claiming that it was served out of time by the petitioner Thomas Opa.
Mendani’s dispute was highlighted in court yesterday when Opa’s lawyer, Justine Tolapa, moved an application he filed seeking to have the court’s discretion to accept service of the election petition to Mendani in a published advertisement.
Tolapa argued that service of the petition was effective on the date the payment for the advertisement was made to the Post Courier.
Tolapa said that Post Courier failed to publish the advertisement on time.
Lawyer Tony Waisi, representing Mendani, argued that the notice of the petition was not properly served.
He also argued that service of the notice of the petition was effective at the time of the publication and circulation and not when payment was made.
The court reserved its decision until today for a ruling on the application.
Opa had filed an election petition against Mendani on two counts of bribery, undue influence and errors and omissions during counting.
The petition was listed yesterday for directions hearing and Opa told the court on Monday that he would call five witnesses for each of the three grounds of allegations.
The petition also returns to court today for further directions.

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