Locked out: No access to office, files puts public solicitors at risk for contempt of court

National

By CHRISTOPHER YOWAT
LAWYERS from the Public Solicitor’s Office will be charged with contempt if they fail to appear in court, says public solicitor Jim Wala Tamate.
Tamate said this after lawyers and staff were locked out of their office in Port Moresby by the landlord due to unpaid rental.
“I have a constitutional office to run and my office looks after the small people in their court cases,” Tamate said.
“And it’s not only criminal cases but civil cases as well — and I want my office to continue its operations.”
Tamate said he would raise the issue with Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia because court proceedings could be affected. “The courts cannot operate without the lawyers,” he said.
“My concern is for my lawyers being charged with contempt if they failed to appear in their court cases.
“I hope that they (government) will sort out the payment today or tomorrow, because if it’s going to take the whole week, then it’s definitely going to disrupt the courts.” Tamate told The National that they were advised that the outstanding rental for eight months was about K990,000.
“We could not do much because we don’t pay our own rents.
“Our payments is looked after by the government.
“The Finance Department does the payments for us,” he said.

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