By Elizabeth Vuvu
A MAGISTRATE says the question of integrity is a high expectation on village court officials and land mediators by people in the community.
East New Britain’s senior magistrate Samuel Lavutul said that if there was no integrity at ward level, youths were likely to be disobedient and cause disharmony.
He said everybody was connected to a family and if a person was a village court magistrate or land mediator, the question of integrity was very important.
Lavutul said there was so much disobedience among youths because they saw village court officers or land mediators involved in promiscuous activities after hours which could be seen as corruption and against the norm.
“If you sleep around with a married spouse and you can convene over an adultery case, then it questions the integrity of the village court officer and court system and warrants are heaping up due to such,” he said.
Lavutul reminded those who put their hands up to be village court officials and land mediators to ensure they clear all allegations against themselves and seek forgiveness as the decision they make will reflect on them.
Lavutul, also said the provincial village court supervising magistrate, emphasised the need for officials to be well trained so they were well versed in administration of the law.
He said if districts conducted training, they should invite him and his officers to clarify issues of law.
“Village courts have no power to hear ex-parte matters and two parties must be present and this is what I discovered during appeals in Kokopo because training for new officers is lacking,” he said.
Lavutul, who also chairs the provincial land dispute committee, raised concerns about funds from the land mediation and village court secretariat deposited with the provincial LLG and justice division to cater for all work on land court mediation and village court, including training.
By Elizabeth Vuvu