Court refuses to issue stay orders on Hela ballots


THE National Court has refused to issue interim orders to stop the counting of 32 ballot boxes in Hela which were allegedly hijacked and now in police custody.
Justice Colin Makail said there were no serious issues to warrant the granting of the interim orders.
The interim orders were sought by Hela regional seat candidate Dr Hewali Hamiya, through his lawyer George Lau, yesterday.
Justice Makail said it was the returning officer’s duty to resolve the issue of disputed ballots by aggrieved candidates or their scrutineers as stated in Section 153A of the Organic Law on national and local level government elections.
Lau said his client was seeking interim orders to stop the counting of 19 ballot boxes for the Koroba LLG and 13 ballot boxes for the Awi-Kagayu LLG in the Koroba-Lake Kopiago electorate.
Lau said there were allegations that polling in the two LLGs were not conducted at the designated polling venues but elsewhere.
The 32 boxes are being kept at the Tari police station.
Justice Makail told Lau to instruct his client to take up his grievances with the returning officer by way of an objection to the counting of the boxes in dispute as per Section 153A of the OLNLLG elections.
He adjourned the substantive matter to Monday for mention.

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