Cost decision on Kandep seat’s case today

National, Normal


THE Supreme Court is expected to decide today on an appeal by Electoral Commission against an order that it pays 75% of the court costs involving the election petition of ousted Kandep MP Don Polye.
The National Court had recently upheld a challenge by a losing candidate and declared Mr Polye’s election in the 2007 general election as null and void.
It ruled that the commission was partly responsible for the affair and that it should share the costs of the hearing.
Last Thursday, the commission sought a review of the decision.
The counsel for Luke Alfred Manase, who challenged Mr Polye’s election, argued that the commission should have raised the matter during the hearing and not after the decision had been handed down.
Paul Mawa said that the Electoral Commission had failed to provide sufficient grounds to justify a review of the decision.
Mr Mawa said the National Court had used its discretionary powers to award costs against the parties (the commission and Mr Polye) concerned.
Ray William, for the commission, contended that the trial judge had handed down his decision on Aug 14 which was a Friday and by Monday (Aug 16), his retirement was in effect and, therefore, by the operation of the law, the trial judge had retired.
Therefore, he could not have carried on any further court proceedings, he said and had in effect done an “injustice” to the commission.
He also pointed out that “the trial judge ought to have asked counsel to take time to peruse the ruling and to come back to court at an appointed time to make submissions on costs”.
But under the circumstance of retirements, he could not do that; hence, the injustice to the commission, he said.