Application against petition dismissed

Southern Highlands regional seat election petitioner Joseph Kobol (left) and lawyer representing fellow petitioner Ps Bernard Kaku, Ralph Diweni, in Port Moresby, last Friday. – Nationalpic by BOURA GORUKILA

A SLIP rule application in relation to an election petition by Ps Bernard Kaku against Southern Highlands Governor William Powi and the Electoral Commission was dismissed in the Supreme Court last Friday.
The slip rule application was filed by the Electoral Commission on March 26 and supported by Powi.
Justice Nicholas Miviri, when delivering a decision on behalf of a three-men bench comprising Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi, Justice Jeffery Sheppard and himself, dismissed the slip rule application in its entirety because it had no merits.
He said the alleged slips were not slips made by the court, but by the commission’s own failure to have properly assisted the court at the substantive review hearing with submissions on point.
The Electoral Commission had raised two grounds in support of its slip rule application, which pleaded that the Supreme Court misapprehended the facts and the law on review of decisions on disputed election petition.
Justice Miviri dismissed the application and affirmed judgment and orders of March 5, where the Supreme Court dismissed the commission’s application for review and ordered an expedited trial of the election petition in the National Court.
He also ordered that the commission and Powi pay costs to Kaku on a solicitor and own client basis for having brought a slip rule application that had no merit and which unnecessarily took much of the court’s time.
The trial was conducted by trial Judge David Cannings and completed where Kaku called five witnesses and closed his case, Powi called 18 witnesses and the commission called four.
The Supreme Court then stayed the trial until the determination of the Electoral Commission’s slip rule application.