The National- Monday, January 24, 2011
By JACOB POK
ANY parties in court who want to disqualify a judge or magistrate from presiding over their matter must do it in a proper, careful and respectful way.
National Court judge Justice David Cannings said this in a court sitting in Kimbe recently.
“You don’t have to be a lawyer to know this; it’s a common sense, and common courtesy,” Cannings said.
He made these comments while presiding over an election petition matter regarding the election of ward members of Kimbe urban local level government.
The complainant Siwi Bungo was a runner-up in the election and started proceedings against defendant John Robin, who won the election that was held in 2008.
When the matter first went to the district court, Bungo, without proper grounds, had asked the magistrate to disqualify himself from presiding over the matter and walked out of the court room.
Concerned over the complainant’s manner, the magistrate issued a warrant of arrest for Bungo and his supporters, charged them with contempt of court and convicted and fined them.
The magistrate also dismissed Bungo’s petition without addressing its merits.
Aggrieved over the dismissal, Bungo took the matter to the National Court to review the magistrate’s decision that dismissed his petition.
After a lengthy proceeding, the National Court found relevant grounds in Bungo’s matter and quashed the decision of the district court that dismissed Bungo’s petition.
This means Bungo could go ahead and pursue the matter in court.