Court grants extension on O’Neill’s restraining order


THE Supreme Court has granted an extension to the restraining order preventing the arrest of former prime minister Peter O’Neill.
Justice Derek Hartshorn, sitting as a single Supreme Court judge, yesterday made the ruling (with costs) to extend the restraining order on the warrant of arrest sought on Oct 11 by the Waigani District Court, following a complaint raised by the Minister of Police Bryan Kramer.
The warrant was then withdrawn by the District Court on Oct 28 before a National Court proceeding to review the warrant.
The parties to the matter were O’Neill as the appellant and four respondents, including Magistrate Cosmas Bidar, Snr Cnst Kila Tali, Police Commissioner David Manning and the State.
O’Neill’s lawyer Greg Sheppard from Young and Williams lawyers last Thursday submitted that the District Court was created by statute and had no jurisdiction to withdraw the warrant of arrest.
Hartshorn upheld Shepherd’s argument that the district court is an inferior court created by statute and may only act if authorised to do so.
The respondents through lawyer Derek Wood from Ashurst Lawyers submitted that O’Neill was attempting to halt police investigation and criminal processes and procedures, by way of a civil proceedings.
But Hartshorn said O’Neill’s appeal was brought forth because of orders made in the National Court on a judicial review proceeding which concerned criminal matters.
“It is open to this court on the wording of s.5 (1) (b) of the Supreme Court Act, to grant an interim order which concerns criminal matters in a civil appeal,” Hartshorn said.