By JACOB POK
POLICE Commissioner Gari Baki escaped jail by being present in court yesterday in a case brought by his deputy Tony Wagambie.
National Court judge Justice Ambeng Kandakasi yesterday set aside a warrant of arrest for Baki and also granted him bail in a contempt of court charge the commissioner is facing for non-compliance of court orders.
The contempt proceeding was instituted by Mr Wagambie against Baki for failing to reinstate him, as ordered by the National Court last year.
Although Mr Wagambie is now on the job he was fighting for, he still pursued the contempt charges against Baki because of the long delay and failure to attend court and act on court orders.
When Baki failed to appear in court last week, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
In court yesterday, Justice Kandakasi revoked the bench warrant on the basis that Baki was present in court and advised lawyers to continue with their submissions. Mr Wamgambie’s lawyer, Nickson Kiuk of Nikiuma Lawyers, submitted that Baki’s continued failure to attend court proceedings since last year had further amounted to contempt and he should be remanded in custody pending the substantive hearing.
But Baki’s counsel Luke Siminji argued that the nature of the contempt proceedings could allow for a bail application and bail should be granted.
Justice Kandakasi agreed that Baki failed to make appearances in court and there were no record of appearance since the matter started last year.
“There is history of non-appearance in court by your client and there has to be a proper explanation for such failure,” Justice Kandakasi told Baki’s lawyer.
Mr Siminji pointed out that one of the reasons for Baki’s non-appearance was to attend Cabinet meetings, but Justice Kandakasi said that was unacceptable.
The judge questioned whether NEC meetings were more important than court hearings.
He ordered that Baki be granted bail pending the substantive hearing.
The matter was adjourned to tomorrow.