Court clears O’Neill

Main Stories

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed a Supreme Court decision to dismiss a warrant of arrest issued against him in 2014.
“This has been a long saga, and the decision of the Supreme Court is again a very clear demonstration of the independence of our judiciary,” O’Neill said.
“This is a decision for common sense, and it is a decision against people maliciously using our Government agencies and the courts for malicious politics.”
O’Neill said it had been a political witch-hunt from the start.
The three-man bench quashed the warrant of arrest issued against O’Neill on Aug 12, 2014, by Chief Magistrate Nerrie Eliakim at the District Court, saying it was null and void and that it had not been properly issued.
O’Neill said the Supreme Court decision clearly demonstrated “that the legal interventions I sought, to have this matter tested in the courts, was the right approach as now justice has prevailed and precedent has been set.”
He said the saga had done great damage to the nation.
“It has cost millions of kina in the legal process, both to me personally and to the state, and our country’s name has been dragged through the mud,” he said.
“In particular, media outlets like the ABC have continuously acted without due care for the legal process that is taking place in the country.
“They have continuously portrayed an image of our country in a bad light. They take cheap shots, do not investigate and have a vested interest in presenting a bad image of the nation to promote their own careers. I give credit to all the media outlets that have demonstrated professionalism in this debate, that have not taken sides and have maintained fair and balanced reporting.”
Looking forward to 2018 and beyond, he said the government was focused on ensuring that such “misuse does not occur again”.
“We now have to put all these differences behind us and move forward,” he said. “It is important that we all learn lessons from what has happened. The lesson is that leaders are mandated by the people, and can only be removed by the people.
“Government can only be removed by elected members in Parliament. This has certainly strengthened our resolve so we can all move forward, and hopefully the agencies and media who have been following this matter can investigate the real culprits behind this case.”

Leave a Reply