Court rejects Yali’s bid

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THE Supreme Court has denied former Madang governor James Yali’s application to stop Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai from rejecting General Election 2022 (GE22) nominations of convicts and ex-convicts.
Justice Derek Hartshorn said the application was dismissed in the interest of justice and public to allow the general election to proceed as planned and without disruption.
Yali, who was nominated by the People’s National Congress (PNC) party to contest the Madang regional seat, filed the application through lawyer Greg Sheppard in Waigani.
He wanted to seek a court order to restrict Sinai from exercising his duty to manage the ongoing GE22 operations as per a May 31 Supreme Order that ruled persons convicted for a crime after June 25, 2002 were ineligible by law to contest in general elections or continue serving as a Member of Parliament (MP).
Yali filed his application claiming that there was a substantive matter challenging the validity of the amended Parliament Act pending legal decision.
“If this application is granted, and Yali proceeds with the contest, and wins but losses in the substantive matter before the court, there will be a by-election.
“You (Yali) are only assuming that there may or may not be a serious question of law to be answered in the substantive matter because the standing of the proceeding has yet to be heard and the interveners were also unidentified,” Justice Hartshorn said.
Yali sought the Supreme Court’s order to declare that the constitutional amendment of Section 103(3b) which the court had relied on when ruling on the Attorney-General’s special reference to disqualify convicts from contesting in general elections was not properly passed.
Sheppard submitted: “Section 103(3b) disqualifies convicts for life, regardless of terms of jail served, which is against the constitutional rights to hold public office.
“The amendment was not certified and for that it was invalid.
“Subsequent to the amendment being invalid, the interpretation of the Supreme Court’s order on the special reference does not stand.”
Sheppard further submitted that Yali was denied natural justice because the court did not grant him to intervene in the special reference when he applied.
“The court had made a mistake not to give him an opportunity to be heard at that time.
“The act was amended in 2002 but did not come into effect because it was not certified as acts come into effect upon the date of the issue of a certificate,” he added.
Sinai’s lawyer Joppo Simbala opposed the application saying the order sought could not be given because the substantive matter was not granted leave yet.
Simbala added: “And the balance of convenience must be obtained.
“The order of Supreme Court on May 31 disqualified anyone convicted of crimes as of June 21, 2002 which applies to Yali as well.”
The substrative matter returns today for directions on hearing of the proceeding’s merits.
On Monday, Sinai issued a statement asking three GE22 candidates to show proof that their court convictions and sentences had been quashed by the Supreme Court.
“They are to provide their evidence by 4.06pm (yesterday).
“If they fail to do so, their nominations will be rejected (or disqualified),” he added.
Sinai said their nominations would be rejected (or disqualified) under Section 87(2) of the Organc Law on National and Local Level Government Elections.
It is believed that none of three candidates has communicated with the EC on the matter.
The three are Yali, Ati Wobiro (Independent – Western regional) and Justin Parker (People’s Movement for Change – Anglimp South Wagi).
Yali was jailed 12 years for rape, Wobiro was jailed 14 years for conspiracy to defraud and Parker jailed 13 years for murder.